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Russian Track Athletes' Appeal Is Denied By Court Of Arbitration For Sport

More than 60 track and field athletes from Russia have had their bid for an appeal rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, dealing another blow to their hopes of participating in the Summer Olympics in Rio next month.

The CAS decision comes weeks after the International Olympic Committee backed a ban on Russia's track and field athletes who were seeking the right to compete in Rio as neutral athletes, after their country's sporting federation for track was suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

In other recent developments in this complicated case:

  • On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency said all Russian athletes and government officials should be barred from this summer's Olympics and accused Russian sports officials of running a state-sponsored doping program.
  • On Tuesday, the IOC held an emergency meeting but put off a final decision on whether to ban all Russian athletes from the Summer Games.
  • The IOC has previously left open the possibility that individual Russian athletes might be able to get approval to compete in Rio — and while today's decision backs the IAAF's stance on Russia's track and field program in the wake of massive doping allegations, it also clarifies that because the IOC wasn't part of this appeal and arbitration, the International Olympic Committee may still determine how to deal with individual athletes.

    Announcing what it calls a unanimous decision, the CAS said it had rejected both a request for arbitration filed by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 athletes, along with an appeal that was filed by 67 of the same athletes who had been declared ineligible for the Olympic Games in Rio when their country's sporting federation was suspended.

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    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.