Ukraine

Russians and Belarusians to join 2024 Olympic Games as neutral athletes

Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris in a neutral status, the International Olympic Committee announced on 8 December 2023.

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee has decided that Individual Neutral Athletes who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, according to the statement of the International Olympic Committee. Individual Neutral Athletes are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport.

Thus, Russian and Belarusian athletes will not represent their countries and will not be able to compete as teams in the Olympic Games next summer. The XXXIII Olympic Games will be held in Paris (France) from 26 July to 11 August 2024.

At this point, 4,600 athletes from all over the world have already qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris. Among them are eight Russian and three Belarusian citizens who will compete under a neutral flag. Ukrainian athletes won 60 licenses to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris next summer.

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The head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, Matvii Bidnyi, condemned the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in neutral status, calling it irresponsible.

In January 2023, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, said that the International Olympic Committee is “sweeping Russian war crimes under the rug” and “trampling on the graves of thousands of innocent people” by allowing Russian athletes to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in any status.

In March 2023, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board recommended the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions in neutral status under certain conditions. Russian and Belarusian athletes who support the Russian invasion of Ukraine will not be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games next summer.

Ukraine’s sports minister said that Ukraine would consider boycotting the Olympic Games and urge other countries to join Ukraine if Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate.

Although there have been no threats to boycott the 2024 Olympic Games from other countries, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Denmark have officially opposed an International Olympic Committee’s plan to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Olympics as “neutral athletes” without flags or anthems.

Poland’s sports minister, Kamil Bortniczuk, said last week that up to 40 countries might refuse to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris if Russia and Belarus were allowed to compete in the Olympics, France 24 reported.

Estonia’s sports minister claimed that Estonia would consider joining Ukraine and boycotting the 2024 Olympics. The Czech Olympic Committee urged the International Olympic Committee to ban Russian athletes but stated that the Czech Republic would not boycott the Olympic Games regardless of the decision on the Russian and Belarusian ban.

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