CAS clears Russians to race in non-Olympic skeleton, bobsled
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Banned from the Olympics for life as doping cheats, seven Russian bobsled and skeleton athletes have been cleared to carry on racing in World Cup events.
The green light to compete for all seven — including Sochi Olympic skeleton champion Aleksandr Tretiakov — was confirmed Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation had asked CAS for urgent provisional bans after its own doping tribunal last month refused to suspend the Russian racers despite their disqualifications from the 2014 Sochi Games by the IOC.
A failure in the IBSF’s legal rules prevented the Lausanne-based court taking the case.
CAS noted in a statement that the governing body’s investigation of Sochi doping cases are “still pending and also because no clear remedy is set out in the IBSF statutes and regulations to provide jurisdiction to CAS in such circumstances.”
It means Tretiakov and Sochi women’s skeleton bronze medalist Elena Nikitina can start Friday in World Cup races at Altenberg, Germany.
An International Olympic Committee disciplinary panel has stripped 43 Russians of their Sochi results in recent weeks, and banned them from all future Olympics, for benefiting from a state-backed doping program.
All 43 are expected to appeal to CAS against their convictions. Some seek urgent verdicts that could let them race at the Feb. 9-25 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The IOC panel verified evidence to prove claims made in 2016 by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the testing laboratories in Moscow and Sochi.
Still, the IBSF’s doping tribunal declined to bar the convicted Russians from non-Olympic events, citing a possible breach of international law because Rodchenkov had not been cross-examined. He is a protected witness in the United States.
The CAS ruling, by appeals division chairwoman Corinne Schmidhauser, was based only on the jurisdiction issue. It did not weigh evidence against the athletes or the credibility of Rodchenkov.