Rio 2016: IOC panel to decide fate of Russian athletes

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    Story highlights

    • IOC panel to make final decision on Russian athletes
    • Athletes already banned by international federations won't get second chance
    • IOC has been criticized in wake of McLaren Report

    (CNN)An International Olympic Committee panel will have the final say on Russian athletes' eligibility to compete at Rio 2016, says a spokesman for the Olympic organization.

    The panel will make its decisions based on advice from the Court of Arbitration of Sport and only those athletes already cleared to take part at the Olympics by their international federations will be considered.
      The panel will be comprised of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jnr, son of the former IOC president; Claudia Bokel, an IOC Executive Board Member; and Ugur Erdener, head of the IOC Medical Commission.
      Any athlete already banned by their international federation from taking part in Rio -- the entire Russian weightlifting team, for instance -- will not be considered for a second chance by the panel.
      The panel will likely confirm the decisions already taken by the international federations, rather than overturn decisions on the more than 250 Russian athletes deemed eligible to compete.
      "It is important the IOC takes the final decision based on independent advice," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams Saturday. "There is not a blanket decision. It is about individual athletes."
      The IOC has been heavily criticized for its handling of events in the wake of Richard McLaren's WADA-commissioned report, opting not to impose a blanket ban on Russia, despite allegations of state-sponsored doping.
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      So far, 119 Russian athletes have been banned from the Olympic Games, including whistleblower and 800m runner Yuliya Stepanova.
      The IOC faced further criticism Sunday as 13 anti-doping bodies -- including from the U.S., Germany and Japan -- condemned the Olympic organization's "ill-conceived" response to the McLaren Report and its decision to exclude Stepanova, claiming it "will deter future whistleblowers."
      Meanwhile, a petition set up on the change.org website asking the IOC to reverse its decision not to allow Stepanova to compete at Rio 2016 has attracted over 70,000 signatures.
      The panel hopes to have all its decisions made before the Rio 2016 opening ceremony on August 5.