The International Olympic Committee says it will review the cases of 15 Russian athletes ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the light of a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Saturday: “Those 15 names will be given to the invitation review panel.”
Adams said “our decision will come before the games start (on Friday)” and that “we reserve our right to review and appeal the CAS decision.”
The CAS ruling on Thursday overturned the doping bans on 28 Russian athletes, citing insufficient evidence. Russia said it wants to send 15 of the 28 to Pyeongchang, including gold medal-winning skeleton slider Alexander Tretiakov and cross-country ski gold medalist Alexander Legkov.
The IOC invitation review panel is chaired by former French sports minister Valerie Fourneyron.
Women’s downhill: In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Lindsey Vonn edged Sofia Goggia in a foretaste of the Pyeongchang Olympic downhill, raising her career total to 80 World Cup victories.
The American standout beat Goggia by two hundredths of a second as their ongoing rivalry in Alpine skiing’s fastest discipline continued.
“It’s a big number,” Vonn said of her 80 wins, just six short of the all-time record set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in the 1980s.
“I remember when I got my 50th here, I never thought I would even get close to Annemarie Moser-Proell’s record (of 62 wins) and now I am getting close to Stenmark’s. It’s incredible,” she said.
“Also the timing of this win, coming into the Olympics, I really feel strong mentally and physically.”
Vonn skied a solid run but didn’t seem to go to the limits as she trailed Italian rival Goggia by 0.08 at the last split time. However, Vonn overcame the deficit in the final section.
“I definitely skied aggressively, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t leave all the cards on the table,” Vonn said. “I hold those extra aces for the Olympics.”
It was Vonn’s second straight downhill win after Cortina, Italy, two weeks ago.
Fellow American Breezy Johnson, who is headed to the Olympics, placed fourth. After two 10th places, this was her best career result by far, and only 0.21 seconds separated her from the top three.
“Fourth is a nice number,” said the speed specialist from Jackson, Wyoming. “I tried to ski as good as I could and, yeah, I was a little surprised.”
Halfway down the course, Johnson was more than half a second faster than then-leader Cornelia Huetter. However, she ultimately trailed the Austrian by just over two tenths of a second at the finish. Italy skier Sofia Goggia also beat Johnson’s time.
“When I came down I thought that I had a pretty good run and I was just hoping that it would hold,” she said.