Is sport politically neutral? Yes, says the IOC President. No, says the Ukrainian sports minister. He sees the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympics as a major problem for the Ukrainians.
Ukrainian Sports Minister Matwij Bidny once again criticizes IOC President Thomas Bach for his motto that sport must behave in a politically neutral manner. “Thomas Bach himself doesn’t believe in this illusion. He should understand that sport, especially Olympic sport, has always been a big part of politics. It’s a very populist idea that doesn’t work at all,” Bidny told the German Press Agency .
Bidny therefore believes that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral athletes in the Olympic Games in Paris, which the International Olympic Committee is considering under certain conditions, sends completely the wrong signal. There are, especially in Russia, “no neutral athletes,” he said: “They are being used for Russian propaganda. We know that the next day, when they return to Russia, they will stand in a stadium and support Vladimir Putin’s re-election. “
The Ukrainian sports minister is very skeptical about the examination process to determine which Russian or Belarusian athlete meets the criteria for a start. “We have of course asked the International Olympic Committee: describe to us and explain to us how the process should work. At the moment it is not transparent,” said the sports minister: “We would like to have the opportunity to present evidence of criminal actions carried out by them so-called neutral athletes were supported.” A database was created with screenshots and videos of 700 athletes from Russia who support Russian aggression against Ukraine.
If there are direct duels between Ukrainian and Russian athletes in Paris, Bidny sees his compatriots in a big dilemma. “Our athletes now have to overcome the biggest challenge of their lives: How should they react to Thomas Bach’s decision? How should they react when they go into the arenas, into the boxing ring, onto the wrestling mat? Should they shake hands with the murderers “With people who were able to prepare for the Olympics with blood money from Russia?” On the other hand, it is very important to show the world “what is happening in Ukraine” on the largest possible sports stage in Paris, said the sports minister.
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