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Anti-doping official slams ruling on Russian Olympians

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- The vice president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Friday "the situation, (in) which we now find ourselves, is very chaotic" after 28 Russian athletes had their Olympic doping bans overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. CAS made the landmark legal ruling on Thursday.

"Clean athletes and sport fans around the world have lost confidence in the system," Linda Hofstad Helleland wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Friday. "It's time to stand up and clearly say: This has to stop. This situation can't be accepted any longer."

Hofstad Helleland is also a member of the Norwegian government. When she joined WADA in 206, she asked for more transparency and open hearings.

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"My main task as vice president of WADA is to protect the rights of the clean athletes," Hofstad Helleland said. "It's time for action. Words alone won't clean the sport."

The CAS ruling was set to reinstate seven Russian medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including gold in men's skeleton and men's 50-kilometer cross-country skiing.

"This does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent, but in their case, due to insufficient evidence, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi are reinstated," CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said in Pyeongchang on Thursday.

The IOC said it had taken note of the CAS decision "with satisfaction on the one hand and disappointment on the other," adding the decision "may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping."

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The 28 who had their bans lifted could now seek late entry into the Pyeongchang Olympics, but the IOC said "not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the ruling "can't fail to please us, and it confirms our position that the overwhelming majority of our athletes are clean athletes."

However, Putin also called for respect for the IOC, saying in comments reported by state news agency RIA Novosti that "there should not be any euphoria from our side and we need to be calm about this."

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