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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Athletes cheated out of medals by Russian competitors at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be offered a "dignified" medal ceremony at the next Winter Games in February.
"We are doing from our side everything what we can to speed up this procedure," International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday, one day after announcing punishments for Russian doping violations at Sochi.
Hours earlier, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said it registered appeals by 22 Russians against their disqualifications from the Sochi Games for their part in the state-backed conspiracy.
Bach said any athletes upgraded in their event by the disqualification of a Russian would be invited to the Pyeongchang Olympics which open Feb. 9 to "enjoy the games for a couple of days."
"Then we are planning again together with the IOC athletes commission to organize dignified medal ceremonies," the Olympic president told a news conference.
Bach, a former head of the CAS appeals division, said the IOC was ready to "bundle some of these cases" to speed the process.
The court said the Russian athletes have also requested verdicts before the Pyeongchang Games open on Feb. 9.
If cleared, some athletes could be eligible to compete in South Korea, if approved by an IOC-created panel which is deciding which Russians to invite.
The IOC created the panel Tuesday after formally banning the Russian Olympic committee from sending a team to Pyeongchang. Instead, it will invite Russian athletes who were never banned for doping and have undergone stricter testing controls since April.
The 22 athletes are also challenging their life bans from the Olympics. They include Sochi gold medalists Alexander Zubkov, Alexander Legkov and Aleksander Tretiakov, whose victories are among the 11 Sochi medals so far stripped from Russia in an ongoing series of disciplinary cases.
Bach said other options for wronged athletes to receive their medals would be ceremonies at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne or at a major sporting event.
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