Russian and Belarusian athletes may be allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
After initially calling for competitions to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus because of the current war in Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Executive Board met on Wednesday to discuss policies for athlete participation in future Olympic games.
The IOC is looking at the possibility of individual athletes from Russia and Belarus competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris and the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo as “neutral athletes” and not representing either country or organizations affiliated with those countries.
The hope is to promote athlete participation and unity while minimizing discrimination.
Athletes found in violation of the policies will be removed from competing.
The executive board noted that the situation is similar to the sanctions against Yugoslavia leading up to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, in which Yugoslavian athletes were permitted to participate despite UN sanctions against the country.
The decision has been criticized by Athletes for Ukraine, an organization for athletes who support Ukraine, and Global Athletes, an international sporting organization seeking to lead positive change in sports, who say the decision just promotes Russia’s war efforts.
“The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition, especially the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, will see the Russian state use athletes once more to bolster the war effort and distract from the atrocities in Ukraine on one of the biggest multi-sport stages in the world,” the two organizations said in a joint statement.
Other topics discussed during Wednesday’s meeting were the reconfirmation of sanctions against Russia and Belarus regarding international sporting events and the Olympic Movement’s willingness to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and help its athletes with training and preparation.
Russia and Belarus are currently and will continue to be banned from hosting international sporting events. No representation of the countries, such as their colors, anthems, or flags, will be allowed at these events, and their government or state officials cannot be invited or credentialed.
The IOC is continuing to stand with Ukraine and is encouraging International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and other global sporting event organizations to do the same by helping Ukrainian athletes prepare, train, and participate in global competitions.
Other organizations have been penalized for banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating.
People need to stand together and just boycott the games. Don’t watch them on television, don’t attend. It would cost them millions in tickets, sales and advertising. But people are ignorant and just ignore this liberal slap in the face. F Russia.