The Court of Arbitration for Sport has dismissed an appeal by 47 Russian athletes and coaches against a ban on participation in the Winter Olympics.
The Russians had argued that they had been wrongfully excluded from the Games by the International Olympic Committee.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said the decision was understandable but disappointing.
It comes amid a long-running row over Russian doping which has seen the country banned from the games.
However 169 Russians will compete as independents.
The CAS decision was made just hours before Friday’s opening ceremony.
Mr Mutko, a former sports minister who has himself been banned for life from the Olympics, said there would be a competition in Russia for the banned athletes instead.
“It is difficult for CAS to take a decision in the light of previous pressure. If they had allowed [the invitations] it would have been a shock,” he said.
The group contesting the decision included 28 athletes …