On February 1, the CAS upheld the appeals of 28 Russian athletes against the IOC decision on their disqualification and lifetime ban from the Olympics over violations of anti-doping rules and partially upheld 11 other appeals. The Russian Olympic Committee asked the IOC to invite 15 Russian athletes and coaches to the Olympics, but the Committee refused.
"I would like to hope that this situation will change and normalize. I think that the sportsmen are not guilty. Sport has always been political, at all times," Belov said Wednesday at the "Going Vertical" movie premiere screening at the Russian embassy in the US capital.
According to Belov, the ongoing developments are difficult for the athletes involved in them, however, the athletes should abstract their minds from external issues and focus on sports, should "go, think about nothing and win."
The scandal around the alleged systematic use of prohibited chemicals in Russian sports erupted in 2015, when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of multiple violations and suspended Moscow laboratory of RUSADA, the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency. In 2016, Richard McLaren, head of the WADA investigative team, presented a two-part report alleging the existence of a state-supported doping program in Russia. Russian officials have refuted the allegations while admitting that the Russian sports had some doping-related issues.
The scandal resulted in a lifetime ban for a number of Russian athletes, the revision of the 2014 Olympics results, as well as disqualification of the Russian national team from the 2018 Games.
The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang will take place on Friday, while the international sports competition will last through February 25. This year, the Russian athletes are allowed to compete in the Olympics under a neutral flag and under the designation Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).