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Court Clears 28 Russian Athletes of Doping Before Winter Olympics

Maxim Vylegzhanin and Nikita Kryukov Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

A sports court has ruled to allow 28 Russian athletes accused of doping to take part in the Winter Olympics eight days ahead of the competition, while another 11 athletes will skip the upcoming Games but will have their lifetime bans cancelled.

Forty-two Russian athletes filed appeals against lifetime bans from the Olympics after a December ruling by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) barred them from participating over doping violations.

“With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated,” the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said in an online statement on Thursday.

A “partial” ruling for 11 other Russian athletes indicates that they will have to sit out on the Olympics in South Korea set to start on Feb. 9, but will not be banned from the Olympics for life. Hearings over the three remaining appeals will be heard after the Winter Games.

"Everyone is really happy about the decision because we always knew that we were clean and that we achieved everything without doping," the coach of Russian Olympic athlete Alexander Legkov, who will now be allowed to participate in the Games, said after the decision.

"It's as if Legkov is starting a second life, I think he's the happiest person in the world right now," Marcus Kramer was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency Thursday.

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