Taiwan no longer may compete in the Olympics under the name "Republic of China" and no longer use its flag or anthem in Olympic ceremonies under a ruling handed down by a Swiss court today.
Rejection of the appeal, made against a lower court ruling last month, paved the way after a tense legal battle for Mainland China's return to the Games for the first time since the Communist takeover in 1949.
The attorney for the Taiwanese said he felt they would rather not compete than go to the Games under the conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee and supported by the courts.
Under a formula devised by the IOC and supported by two-thirds of its members, Taiwan's athletes had been ordered to change their name, flag and anthem in all future Games.
The Taiwanese National Olympic Committee and the IOC member in Taipel, Henry Hsu, contested the idea and sought a court injunction setting it aside for the upcoming Winter Games and the summer event later this year.
The court decision, by a three-man panel of judges, was relayed by mail to both sets of lawyers and confirmed today by Francois Carrard, a lawyer for the IOC.
It is bound to be viewed in Olympic circles as a personal triumph for IOC President Lord Killanin, who tried for years to bring athletes from the Mainland into the Games. It also seemed to end chances of both sides competing in the Olympics.
Alain Wurzburger, counsel for the Taiwanese, said his clients probably would decide not to take part in this year's Winter or Summer Games.
"It is clear they will probably not now compete," he said. At the appeal hearing Thursday, representatives of the Taiwan NOC said its athletes would find it extremely difficult to appear without their national flag and anthem.
Wurzburger stressed, however, that the Taiwanese fight was far from over.
In Washington yesterday, Paul Chao, culture secretary for the Republic of China's Coordination Council for North American Affairs, said, "We are trying our best to think of some other ways to fight this position. We are waiting to read the decision by the court."
"Our stand is very clear," Chao added. "We will never enter the Olympic Games without our name, the Republic of China, our flag and our anthem."
Taiwan's athletes still are eligible to participate at Lake Placid or Moscow if they desire. The IOC has asked the Taiwan NOC to present a new design for its flag and anthem.
If Taiwan agrees, its athletes would compete under the name "Chinese Taipel Olympic Committee." Originally, 18 athletes from the island had planned to go to Lake Placid and more than 50 to Moscow.