Reaction to CAS ruling on Russian athletes banned for doping

ZURICH (Reuters) - Twenty-eight Russian athletes had their Olympic doping bans overturned and their results from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi reinstated after their appeals were upheld by sport’s highest tribunal CAS on Thursday.

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

The following is some reaction to the decision:

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking to reporters in Rostov-on-Don:

“This, of course, cannot but give us joy. It confirms our position on the fact that the vast majority of our athletes are clean.

“We ourselves have things to work on in terms of perfecting our anti-doping program and policy. We will do this in determined fashion with WADA.”

Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

“The IOC’s failure to swiftly and decisively deal with Russia’s unprecedented attack on fair play has eroded public trust in the values of the Olympic movement.

“Slamming dozens of cases through the process on the eve of the Olympic Games has not served justice and as such the integrity of the Games has been sabotaged. The whole mess truly stinks and the nightmare continues for clean athletes. This must change.”

Stanislav Tiurin, executive director of Russia’s luge federation, to Reuters:

“This is not only the Russian athletes who won, this is a victory for all the clean athletes who participate (in the Olympics), who have never taken doping, those who do not need doping.

“Yes there were some problems with doping, we admitted that, the country admitted, the Russian Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry admitted and the Russian president admitted that. But we are fighting this problem, and today we have one of the best anti-doping systems in the world.”

Alexander Zubkov, president of the Russian bobsleigh federation. He was stripped of both gold medals he won in Sochi by the IOC and was one of the 11 athletes confirmed by CAS to have committed a doping offence, to Reuters:

“I’m partly satisfied with the CAS decision because we had a large number of athletes who were exonerated - all the skeleton athletes and some of the bobsledders... We would like to see what is said about the athletes who were not fully exonerated.

“I have said many times that I have never doped and do not dope now.... What am I being accused of? What anti-doping rule violation do they want to slap against me?”

International Olympic Committee statement:

“The confirmation of the Anti-Doping Rule Violations for 11 athletes because of the manipulation of their samples clearly demonstrates once more the existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.

“On the other hand, the IOC regrets very much that the (CAS) panels did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the other 28 cases.

“This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping.”

Jim Walden, lawyer for Russia’s former anti-doping chief-turned whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, in a statement:

“Dr. Rodchenkov testified fully and credibly at CAS. His truth has been verified by forensic evidence, other whistleblowers, and, more recently, recovery of the Moscow lab’s secret database, showing thousands of dirty tests that were covered up.

“This panel’s unfortunate decision provides a very small measure of punishment for some athletes but a complete ‘get out of jail free card’ for most.”

Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov, to reporters:

“The Russian Olympic Committee will send the IOC a letter requesting that our athletes take part in the Olympic Games... We really hope that the IOC makes a decision in favor of all clean athletes who earned the right to compete at the Olympics.”

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann in Berlin, Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Anton Derbenev and Valery Stepchenkov in Moscow and Brian Homewood in Zurich; Editing by Peter Graff and Pritha Sarkar