The International Olympic Committee approved the entry of 271 Russian athletes for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Thursday, meaning 70% of the country's original team will compete after a doping scandal that has dominated the buildup to the games, the AP reports. Also Thursday, the rule barring Russian athletes with prior doping sanctions from competing was rejected as "unenforceable" by a sports arbitration panel, a decision that could open the door to further appeals and more Russians being entered. The IOC announced the go-ahead for the Russian athletes about 24 hours before the opening ceremony. More than 100 Russians have been excluded, including 67 in track and field.
The IOC recently rejected calls from anti-doping organizations to ban Russia's entire team following a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency investigator that detailed evidence of state-directed doping and cover-ups. Instead, international federations were asked to examine individual Russian athletes to determine if they should be eligible for the games. The IOC set up a panel of three executive board members to review the entries and make the final call. "The majority of the sports have been admitted in full," Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov told reporters, adding that there is now "no other team that is so clean and so carefully controlled than the Russian one." (Team USA goalie Hope Solo was jeered during the team's opening match Wednesday.)