- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 9, 2018

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - The Court of Arbitration for Sport has received 20 more appeals from Russian athletes against Olympic doping bans, taking the total to 42.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko also lodged his appeal against a lifetime ban from the Olympics, the sports court said on Tuesday.

While Mutko’s case will not be heard until after next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the athletes’ appeals will be fast-tracked.

CAS said those cases will be heard together in the week beginning Jan. 22, and it expects verdicts will be issued by Jan. 31.

That is nine days before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games, and three days after the International Olympic Committee’s deadline for entries, other than those in exceptional circumstances.

The IOC has ruled that Russia operated a doping program when it hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and has banned 43 Russian athletes and some officials from the Olympics for life as a result.

As part of Russia’s punishment, its athletes will compete under a neutral flag in Pyeongchang.

Mutko, a sports minister during the Sochi Games, was deeply implicated in the doping plot by two IOC commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation.

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