16:57 GMT04 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) -Alexander Belov, a son of 1972 Soviet Olympic Champion Sergei Belov, told Sputnik that he hoped that the developments surrounding the Russian athletes banned from Olympics over alleged doping rules' violations, but later acquitted of the charges would normalize and the athletes would be able to compete and win.

    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 son of the Soviet basketball athlete, who was a member of the national team that defeated the US team in the 1972 Olympic Men's Basketball Final for the first time in history of the Olympic Games, said that sports could bring the positions of Russia and the United States closer and to mend ties between the two countries.

    Picture of the logo of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) taken on September 20, 2016 at the headquarter of the organisation in Montreal.
    © AFP 2020 / Marc Braibant
    Picture of the logo of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) taken on September 20, 2016 at the headquarter of the organisation in Montreal.

    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.

    READ MORE: IOC Emails Show Medal Winner Schoeman Tested Positive for Banned Drug

    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).


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