The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) says that it will not hear an appeal of at least six Russian athletes who were banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics until after the competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The delay on their appeal against an International Olympic Committee (IOC) doping ban guarantees that the Russian athletes -- including two leading speed skaters -- will miss the Pyeongchang games.
They include Pavel Kulizhinikov, a former world champion in short-track speed skating who was banned from 2012 through 2014 after testing positive for the banned substance methylhexanamine.
Also among them is speed skater Denis Yuskov, who served a ban for marijuana, and the biathletes Irina Starykh and Aleksandr Loginov, who previously had been banned for use of the blood-booster EPO.
The court on February 7 was still looking into appeals from 45 other Russian athletes and two coaches who hope to have rulings in time for the Winter Olympics.
On February 7 -- the same day that the first preliminary competitions began for several events of the Pyeongchang games -- 13 Russian athletes and two coaches made "urgent applications" to the court in an attempt to reverse the IOC's decision to ban them for doping.
Those applicants include cross-country gold-medalist Aleksandr Legkov and skeleton gold-medalist Aleksandr Tretyakov.
On February 6, a similar appeal was made to the court by 32 other banned Russian athletes.
The CAS said all of the banned Russians were a seeking a court ruling that would allow them to compete in South Korea as "Olympic Athletes from Russia."
In December, the IOC banned Russia from competing as a team the 2018 Winter Olympics, citing the Russian state's "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system.
But the IOC did invite 169 Russians without any past history of doping violations to compete under a neutral flag using the name "Olympic Athletes from Russia," provided they meet strict guidelines on doping.
At the opening ceremony of the Winter Games on February 9, they will march under the Olympic flag and wear red and grey tracksuits with an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" emblem.
If any of those athletes win medals, they will stand under the Olympic flag instead of a Russian flag.
If they win a gold medal, the Olympic anthem will be played while they stand on the medalists' podium rather than the Russian national anthem.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 7 said that despite the banning of dozens of Russian athletes from the Winter Olympics and the IOC’s refusal to allow individuals to compete there as members of an official Russian team, Russia "doubtlessly remains a world sports leader and a leader in organizing major sports events."
With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and TASS