The Court of Arbitration for Sport, the world’s top sports court, overturned on Thursday lifetime Olympic bans for 39 Russian athletes that had been handed down by the Disciplinary Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in relation to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
After examining each individual case, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld 28 appeals and partially upheld the remaining 11.
Following the investigation performed by Prof. McLaren with respect to the manipulation of anti- doping procedures during the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014, the IOC found 43 Russian athletes to have committed anti-doping rule violations during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, disqualified them from the events in which they participated in Sochi and forfeited all medals won by them. The athletes were also declared ineligible to participate in any capacity in all subsequent editions of the Olympic Games.
At the end of December 2017, all but one of the athletes (Maxim Belugin / bobsleigh) filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said procedures were conducted jointly on an expedited basis and a combined hearing took place from January 22 to 27 in Geneva. Every athlete attended the hearing, except two who were not available, and were heard individually. Several experts and fact witnesses, such as Dr Grigory Rodchenkov and Prof. Richard McLaren, testified during the hearing.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said its panels unanimously found that the evidence put forward by the IOC in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case. In 28 cases, the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation was committed by the athletes concerned. With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated.
In 11 cases, the evidence collected was found to be sufficient to establish an individual anti-doping rule violation. The IOC decisions in these matters are confirmed, with one exception: the athletes are declared ineligible for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games instead of a life ban from all Olympic Games.