More Russian Athletes Could Come to PyeongChang

(ATR) Also: IOC rules weightlifting must drop quotas in Tokyo; Brazilian Olympic Committee reinstated.

(ATR) The IOC panel in charge of determining eligibility for the Olympic Athlete from Russia team will evaluate 13 athletes cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling.

IOC spokesperson Mark Adams confirmed that of the 28 athletes whose appeal was upheld in the CAS decision, 13 are active athletes eligible to compete in PyeongChang. The IOC's invitation review panel, chaired by Valérie Fourneyron, is tasked with compiling a list of eligible Russian athletes for invitation to the PyeongChang 2018 Games.

Adams would not speculate on the outcomes of any decisions from the invitation review panel, but said any decision would "come before the Games start". Once the decisions are made then the IOC could begin to figure out how to work to sort out any issues with quotas.

Currently the OAR team stands at 169 athletes. With the potential additions of up to 13 athletes, the delegation could swell to 182 members. A delegation of that size would be larger than the 177 athletes Russia sent to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but smaller than its 2006 and 2014 delegations.

Adams said it is too early to judge if the IOC’s decision in banning the Russian Olympic Committee and having athletes compete under a neutral flag was a success. He said that it was a decision "anyone who believes in democracy, liberty, and freedom would agree with".

"I think what you have to look at is not so much numbers, but 75 percent of those who will be competing have never competed in an Olympic games before," Adams said. "I think we can be pleased that we've tried, rather than go for a blanket ban or let everyone in, we have tried to find on an individual basis young athletes who have never competed in an Olympic Games."

The IOC executive board still has not reviewed the decision from CAS on the Russian athletes. Once that decision is reviewed, a decision on whether to appeal the ruling to the Swiss Federal Tribunal will be made, Adams said.

Weightlifting Loses Quotas

The IOC Executive Board enacted a "significant quota reduction" for the International Weightlifting Federation at its meeting today.

The IWF will lose 64 quota spots at the 2020 Olympics focused on countries that have been repeat offenders for doping violations.

"The focus will be on those countries responsible for doping and not for the detriment of those NOCs who send clean athletes," Adams said in his briefing.

A quota reduction is a far cry from the potential sanctions the IOC could have levied against the federation. At the last IOC Executive Board meeting Bach said that weightlifting would remain on the Olympic program in 2024, but still needed to see the effects of a new anti-doping plan.

Brazil Olympic Committee Reinstated

The IOC Executive Board lifted the suspension of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB).

The COB had been provisionally suspended following the arrest of honorary IOC member Carlos Nuzman last year. The IOC said that the COB had been involved in the bid process for Rio 2016, making it culpable for any potential schemes to buy votes ahead of the 2009 IOC Session.

Adams said that new governance reforms were shown to have been put in place by the COB, "all key figures" from the Rio 2016 bid process were removed, and an independent audit of the COB’s finances from 2008-10 was completed.

The IOC was satisfied with the results of each of these conditions and the suspension was lifted.

Written by Aaron Bauer

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