2 Feb 2018

Russia wants cleared athletes at Winter Games

6:47 am on 2 February 2018

Twenty-eight Russian athletes have had their Olympic doping bans overturned and their results from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi reinstated after their appeals were upheld by the Court of Arbitration for sport.

The Performance at The Closing Ceremony for The 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi Russia

The Performance at The Closing Ceremony for The 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi Russia Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Eleven other athletes were confirmed to have committed doping violations but had life Olympic bans reduced.

The CAS made their decision citing lack of evidence.

Russia was stripped of four gold, eight silver and one bronze medal through the IOC rulings and lost the first place in the Sochi medal table.

Now 11 medallists have been reinstated, putting Russia back on top again.

Official from the country are also calling for the 28 athletes to be allowed to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Games, which start in a weeks time.

"It is necessary to do everything you said as soon as possible to make sure that fully vindicated athletes can take advantage of the opportunities opened up by this court judgement," the TASS news agency quoted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as saying after a cabinet meeting Friday (NZ time).

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS the athletes have the "unconditional right to take part in the upcoming Olympics.

"Over the past year they have gone through hard times. Now they want to move forward and continue doing what they enjoy most of all - to compete in a fair fight," he insisted.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted it would be difficult to get the athletes in question to the Games.

After all, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was quick to state that the 28 would not be going to South Korea because it has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and only invited 169 Russians to compete there as neutrals.

The 11 medallists reinstated include gold medallists Alexander Legkov (cross-country) and Alexander Tretiakov (skeleton), while double bobsleigh champion Alexandr Zubkov remains suspended and the case of twice biathlon silver medallist Olga Vilukhina is still pending.

As a result, Russia are top of the Sochi medal standings again with 11-9-9, just ahead of Norway with 11-5-10.

"We have never doubted that our athletes had rightly got all the medals won in Sochi. It's good that the court has fully confirmed this proving that they are clear," Medvedev said.