Story highlights

Russia fails in bid to overturn doping ban

67 Russian track and field athletes prohibited from competing at Riio

Olympic Games begin on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro

CNN  — 

Russia and its athletes are dominating the build up to Rio 2016.

The country is banned from competing in track and field events, including the Olympic Games, after an appeal against its exclusion was rejected Thursday.

The sanction follows allegations of a state-sponsored doping program across a range of sports, the fallout of which could see Russia thrown out of the Games altogether.

With so many questions hanging over Russia and the Olympics, here’s what you need to know.

Will Russia be in Rio?

Russia finds itself in the last chance saloon as it waits to discover whether it will take part in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero next month.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee — the organization which oversees the Games’ rules and decides who competes every four years – will decide what sanctions to impose on the remainder of the Russian Olympic association and the country’s athletes.

However, the IOC finds itself in a no-win situation. If it bans Russia, the IOC will alienate one of the traditional superpowers of the Olympic Games; if it doesn’t the organization will be accused of going soft on the curse of doping.

We now know 67 Russian athletes definitely won’t be flying off to Brazil following Thursday’s Court of Arbitration Sport (CAS) ruling which rejected Russia’s appeal to lift a ban on its track and field athletes.

Earlier in the week an independent report had concluded urine samples of Russian athletes had been manipulated across the “vast majority” of Summer and Winter Olympic sports from 2011 through to August 2015.

Ever since the organization that runs track and field — the International Association of Athletics Federation — suspended Russian track and athletes last year because of the doping allegations, the likes of hammer thrower Sergei Litvinov has continued to train in the hope he might compete at Rio.

On Wednesday, Litvinov won the hammer throw at the Russia track and field championships, but the CAS verdict leaves him out in the cold.

READ MORE: Court rejects Russia’s appeal over Olympic ban

How does Russia feel about it?

Russia is outraged. Yelena Isinbayeva is the poster girl of the country’s track and field team and the two-time Olympic pole-vault champion had hopes of winning a third gold medal in Rio.

“Thank you everyone for the funeral of athletics,” the 34-year-old said after the verdict dropped.

She added: “There was hope but it was dashed. Let all those pseudo clean foreign athletes breathe a sigh of relief and win their pseudo gold medals in our absence. They always did fear strength.”

The anger also rang through Russia’s corridors of power, with Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov lamenting that the ban will also effect “clean” athletes.

“We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with none of accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies.

“We can only express our deep regret,” he said before adding “our relevant agencies will analyze the situation quickly and efficiently.”

Has anything like this happened before?

This isn’t the first time that the Litvinov family has been left in Olympic limbo.

Litvinov’s father — Sergei Sr. — was unable to take part in the 1984 Games after the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles event because of Cold War politics.

That was a tit-for-tat response after the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980 following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

Four years later Sergei Sr., who now trains his 30-year-old son, won gold in the hammer throw at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

The Olympic charter states that “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in the Olympic areas.”

The IOC might be able to enforce those rules in the “Olympic areas,” but the current crisis – as well as the 1980 and 1984 boycotts – demonstrate that the organization has absolutely no chance of regulating the combustible world of geo-politics.

Who is missing out?