Ukraine welcomed the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes return to competitions individually and under a neutral flag and tries to convince the international community that the nationals of the invading country and its ally should not be in the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
IOC agreed on tuesday recommend to international federations and to the organizers of sports competitions that accept the participation of Russian and Belarusian athleteswhat is considered can open the door to Paris 2024.
Following a request by the 11th Olympic Summit, IOC issues recommendations for International Federations and international sports event organizers on the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions:https://t.co/yNgQElJweK
—IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) March 28, 2023
IOC President, Thomas Bachconsidered that the ban, introduced after the start of the Russian invasion in 2022, was motivated by the insistence of several national committees and the doubts about the safety of Russian and Belarusian athletes, but ruled out that this is already a cause for concern.
The announcement was received with criticism by leading Ukrainian athletes, as well as for their international colleagues, lawyers and politiciansand even for the governments of Germany and Polandas well as the Baltic countries.
They considered that such a decision ignores the need to protect the rights of Ukrainian athletes, as well as the possible use of sport by Russian propaganda and the need to isolate Moscow and Minsk because of the aggression against Ukraine.
The Olympic Committee of #Ukraine asks the IOC not to allow participation in the Games of #Paris2024 of Russian athletes who belong to the army, as is the case with many Olympians. In addition, some of them have already declared publicly in favor of the war pic.twitter.com/qlamgrtADk
– Stories of the Games (@HistoriasdlosJJ) March 24, 2023
The teacher Patricia Wiater, author of the legal opinion of the Comitted German Olympic Board (DOSB) on Russian athletes, declared at a press conference organized on Wednesday by the Ukrainian athletes, that the IOC privileged the rights of Russian and Belarusian athletes, above the needs of Ukrainians.
At least 262 Ukrainian athletes have died and 343 stadiums and other objects of the country’s sports infrastructure have been destroyed from the start of the invasion. Most of Ukraine’s elite athletes are now forced to train abroad.
This is a common concern, expressed in a recent interview with EFE by Zhan BeleniukOlympic gold in Tokyo 2020 in Greco-Roman wrestling and deputy in the Ukrainian parliamentis that the principle of “not show active support for the war.” advocated by the IOC, becomes a simple formality, that it would not prevent the participation of those who do support the invasion.
At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, 61 of Russia’s 71 medalists were affiliated with the Russian Army.
Many of the athletes actually serve in the military.
This is why the IOC must change its decision and ban all Russian athletes from the 2024 Paris Olympics. pic.twitter.com/bCH6hh3YJK
— Visegrad 24 (@visegrad24) March 26, 2023
At least 317 Russian athletes have openly supported the invasion of Ukraineaccording to the continuously updated list of the local sports media Grandstand.
Olha Kharlanukrainian medal olympic gold in fencing claims that not a single Russian or Belarusian colleague contacted her, not even in private, to offer their support or express their disagreement with the actions of their governments.
The tennis player Lesia Tsurenko assured that she and other Ukrainian colleagues suffered panic attacks because they did not feel protected by the WTAwhich allowed to compete Russian and Belarusian rivals and reacted weakly to cases of Russian propaganda dissemination by some of them.
Vladyslav Heraskevych, skeleton runner, added that the lack of denial pronouncements is even more disappointing since Russian and Belarusian athletes are perfectly aware of the real situation in Ukraine and used to communicate widely with their Ukrainian colleagues before.
The situation can improve if it is done put on each of the Russian athletes the burden of proving that they do not support the warsince the current approach allows them to easily avoid this condition, according to Mark Orth, german lawyer.
The prevailing position of the Ukrainian athletes is that their country should avoid boycotting the Paris 2024 Olympic Games In solitary if Russian and Belarusian athletes are finally allowed to compete. This would make Ukrainian athletes suffer even more by missing out on one of the most important events of their careers, he said. Heraskevych.
The President of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, Vadym Guttsayt, had already stated that his country must continue to explain its position to international federationswhich ultimately they will decide whether to allow Russians to compete.
(With information from EFE)