IOC speaks out over demand to ban Russians from Paris Olympic Games
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reaffirmed their stance on allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the 2024 games, albeit under a neutral banner.
There have been calls from multiple parties to outright ban athletes from the European countries due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The IOC announced last month that it was looking into pathways to allowing those athletes to participate at the Paris Games.
This was despite calls from the likes of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and Ukrainian athletes to ban any athletes.
However, the IOC has cited advice from human rights experts claiming that banning athletes on the basis of their passports would be discrimination.
As such they’ve hit back in response to the calls to ban the country.
They said, in a statement via Yahoo Sports: “There are no plans for a Russian or Belarusian delegation or the flags of these countries at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“The only option that could be considered are individual, neutral athletes like we have seen last year at the French Open in tennis and recently again at the Australian Open in tennis and in other professional sports.”
Last month, Zelenskyy addressed the situation and slammed the IOC for their attempts to ‘bring Russian athletes back into the Olympic Games’ feeling as though it tells ‘the whole world that terror is somehow acceptable’.
He referred to the ‘great Olympic mistake’ of the 1936 games which were held in Berlin despite the Nazis being in power.
He said: "The Olympic movement and terrorist states definitely should not cross paths.”
He added that Russia must not be allowed to ‘use (the games) or any other sport event as propaganda for its aggression or its state chauvinism’.
Meanwhile, Paris Mayor, Hidalgo has changed her stance after originally being in favour of athletes competing under a neutral banner.
She said this week: “It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation that comes to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine.”
Olympic bodies in the Baltic and Nordic regions of Europe have also publicly stood with Ukraine against the IOC’s plans.
Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk has also called for a ban, claiming any medals Russian athletes win in Paris will be ‘medals of blood’.
Oleksandr Usyk 🥊 👑 nahrál video pro předsedu MOV @thomasbach76 ... už opravdu nevím, kdo víc by měl MOV @iocmedia oslovit a říct jim na plnou pusu, ať táhnou do pekla. Nebo do russka, to je stejné. Ale nejlíp do #Bachmut 😠 Anglické titulky dole... @hasek_dominik @DarPutinovi pic.twitter.com/FHWARHcJxg— Paula (@Paula44212447) February 8, 2023
A decision is expected to be made on March 3 when an umbrella group of Summer Olympic sports, known as ASOIF, will meet to discuss the issue.