For a long time, the IOC played for time on the issue of Russian athletes starting at the Summer Games. Now the umbrella organization is making its decision.
Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to take part in the Paris Olympics as neutral athletes. The head of the International Olympic Committee granted individual athletes from both countries permission to compete in the 2024 Summer Games on Friday under certain conditions, provided they meet the qualification conditions. In doing so, the IOC followed a call from the international summer sports associations and the National Olympic Committees to finally make a decision on this question, which has been controversial since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
As with the return to international competitions, the condition is that Russians and Belarusians are only allowed to take part in Paris under a neutral flag. Teams are not permitted. This means that the starters from Russia and Belarus are not allowed to play their national anthem at the Olympics in Paris, and national symbols and flags are also prohibited for them.
IOC demands commitment to the Olympic peace mission
In addition, these athletes must not have any connection to the army and security organs and must not have actively shown support for the war in Ukraine. In addition, the anti-doping guidelines must be met. As an additional requirement, the IOC requires all athletes to make a written commitment to the Olympic Charter and thus also to the “peace mission of the Olympic Movement”.
According to the IOC, eight Russians and three Belarusians have so far qualified for the Olympics in Paris. It was said that more than 60 Ukrainians were among the approximately 4,600 athletes already eligible to take part.
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Russians and Belarusians were initially excluded from international sports competitions. Belarus supports Russia in the conflict. Already in the spring, the IOC led by German President Thomas Bach opened the door to the major sports stages for both countries and set the framework for participation in competitions.
DOSB also advocates for Russian athletes to take part
This should also enable athletes to meet the qualification criteria for the Summer Games. In recent months, a number of world associations have followed the IOC’s guidelines and allowed Russians and Belarusians back in.
However, the umbrella organization left the decision about participation in the Olympics open until the end. In September, the International Paralympic Committee also lifted its complete ban against Russia and allowed Russian disabled athletes to compete at the Paralympics in Paris under a neutral flag. This was already seen as a harbinger of a corresponding decision by the IOC.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation also recently changed its course with reference to the majority opinion in international sport and advocated for Russians and Belarusians to start in Paris. “If Germany were the only country to block Russians and Belarusians from competing under a neutral flag, there would be no international sporting events in our country,” explained DOSB President Thomas Weikert.
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