IOC seeks a middle ground for athletes from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine at the Olympics
According to the organization, it “has found a middle ground” for athletes from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.
But its intentions have been rebuffed by the Russian and Ukrainian regimes.
The IOC stated that “governments cannot decide which athletes can compete.”
In a document made public on Thursday, the organization revised its position on athletes from Russia and Belarus.
Following the invasion of Ukraine, there has been demand on the IOC to forbid Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing, even when doing so under a neutral flag.
It instructed athletic federations in March to permit athletes from those nations to compete as neutrals.
The IOC is continually adjusting its position on Russian and Belarussian athletes and has stated that it has not made a final decision regarding their participation in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, which are scheduled to begin in just over a year. The National Organising Committees of Russia and Belarus, however, would not participate in the Games, according to the statement.
Although some athletes have questioned this, it emphasized that permitting participation “works” and highlighted many sports in which athletes from the feuding nations had participated without incident.
It also referred to a judgment by the UN Human Rights Council that said it would be unfair and a blatant human rights violation to prohibit all Russian and Belarusian athletes.
In recent weeks, Wimbledon has also permitted athletes from those two countries to compete, but Victoria Azarenka, a Belarusian citizen, received jeers from spectators after losing to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
While government minister Oleh Nemchinov stated in April that Ukrainian athletes should not be allowed to compete in qualifying events for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris if Russian athletes are competing, Ukraine’s sports minister Vadym Guttsait has accused the IOC of applying “double standards” in suggesting that Russian and Belarusian athletes could compete in Paris.
In its revised text, the IOC maintained its criticism of Ukraine for “denying its own athletes the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and to make the Ukrainian people proud.”
The IOC stated that “universal Olympic Games will no longer be possible in such a politicized sport.”
Additionally, it criticized countries for endorsing Russian or Ukrainian positions. One nation that has backed a ban on Russian athletes is the United Kingdom.
“The vast majority of athletes around the world respect or support the IOC’s approach,” it continued.