LAUSANNE • Forty-two of 43 Russian athletes handed lifetime Olympic bans for doping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi have lodged appeals with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the tribunal said on Tuesday.
The announcement comes in response to the sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following allegations of state-sponsored doping by hosts Russia at the 2014 Games.
Twenty-two of those banned and disqualified by the IOC including cross-country skier Alexander Legkov and bobsleigher Aleksandr Zubkov - both stripped of their gold medals from Sochi - filed appeals with CAS before Christmas.
Zubkov, 43, has since retired and is now head of the Russian bobsleigh federation, although his suspension, along with that of other former athletes occupying similar posts, prevents him from attending competitions or official events.
Others are still hopeful of taking part in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, with a final decision on each case expected to be issued before the end of the month. Bobsleigher Maxim Belugin was the only one of the 43 athletes banned not to launch an appeal.
CAS also confirmed to Agence France-Presse that the Russian Olympic Committee, currently suspended by the IOC, had decided not to appeal to CAS, sport's highest court.
Russia had topped the Sochi medal tally but has lost 13 of its 33 medals, slipping behind Norway, Canada and the United States.
It has been banned from the Feb 9-25 Pyeongchang Games owing to this widespread doping. But athletes who prove themselves to be clean have been told by the IOC they can compete under strict conditions, and under a neutral flag.
CAS said the cases will all be heard together in the week beginning Jan 22 and expects verdicts to be issued by Jan 31. That is three days after the IOC's deadline for entries, other than those in exceptional circumstances.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS