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– Sports' highest court rejected appeals by all 45 Russian athletes plus two coaches who were banned from the Pyeongchang Olympics over doping concerns in a decision announced Friday less than nine hours before the Opening Ceremony.

The International Olympic Committee had refused to invite the group of Russians, saying it had evidence of alleged doping in Russian sports.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the IOC has the right to set its own standards for who is eligible.

CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb, reading from a statement and declining to take questions, said the IOC process "could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision."

"No finding that this was carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner," he said.

The IOC issued a statement welcoming the decision.

A vetting process was designed to exclude Russian athletes from the Games if IOC officials weren't sure they were clean, even if they hadn't been banned for doping.

The IOC has invited 168 Russians to participate as "Olympic Athletes from Russia," competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag.

Shani Davis unhappy

It was a feel-good story for a few hours: Luge veteran Erin Hamlin gets the chance to enter her last Olympics carrying the U.S. flag into the Opening Ceremony, winning that distinction after a vote by some of her fellow athletes. And then Shani Davis tweeted.

With that, the entire process was called into controversy. A tweet posted to Davis' account said the process by which Hamlin won was executed "dishonorably," and included a reference to Black History Month — raising the question of whether the speedskater was suggesting that race played a role in the decision.

Davis is black, Hamlin is white.

Hamlin and Davis were among eight nominees for the flagbearer role, and athletes from each of the eight winter sports federations represented those nominees in a balloting that took place Wednesday night. Eventually, the final vote was deadlocked at 4-4. Hamlin won a coin toss, the predetermined method of picking a winner if all else failed in the athlete-led process.

Team figure skating

Shoma Uno skated a near-flawless short program, the only stumble coming on his opening jump, and scored 103.25 points to give Japan the lead in figure skating's team competition.

Alexei Bychenko put together a clean program to place Israel in a surprising second place, while the rest of the big hitters in the men's competition kept hitting the ice.

Patrick Chan of gold medal-favorite Canada fell on both of his quads but rallied in the back half of his program to take third. Nathan Chen of the U.S. was fourth.


• U.S. bobsledder Justin Olsen has resumed light workouts three days after an emergency appendectomy and is expected to compete in the Olympics.

• Japan's Noriaki Kasai, who is competing in his record eighth Winter Olympics at the age of 45, advanced into the final of the men's normal ski jumping with a 20th-place finish in qualifying.

• The mixed curling team of Matt and Becca Hamilton of McFarland, Wis., dropped to 1-1 with a 6-4 loss to Canada.