Posted by on January 25, 2023 4:47 pm
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International Olympic Committee wants Russian athletes to compete in 2024 games

FILE – The Russian national flag, right, flies after it is hoisted next to the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 23, 2014. The International Olympic Committee has made a sweeping move to isolate and condemn Russia over the country’s invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File) Matthias Schrader/AP

International Olympic Committee wants Russian athletes to compete in 2024 games

Jack Birle January 25, 04:03 PMJanuary 25, 04:03 PM Video Embed

The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday it’s seeking to allow Russian athletes to compete independently in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.

The IOC, in a lengthy release, held firm that no athlete should be barred from competing “just because of their passport.”

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“Respect the rights of all athletes to be treated without any discrimination, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. Governments must not decide which athletes can participate in which competition and which athletes cannot,” the IOC said. “A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored.”

The committee said that Russian athletes permitted would be “neutral athletes” and “in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country,” adding that athletes also must not have actively supported the war in Ukraine.

The IOC used its handling of athletes from Yugoslavia in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, as precedent. For those Olympics, athletes from Yugoslavia were permitted to compete as “Independent Olympic Athletes” despite the country being sanctioned by the United Nations.

The IOC’s announcement is a rejection of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s calls for Russian athletes to be banned from the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Russian athletes have not been allowed to compete under their national flag since the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as punishment for the country’s vast state-sponsored doping program.

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During the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Russia competed as the ROC, an acronym for the Russian Olympic Committee. Shortly after the games ended, Russia invaded Ukraine, and its athletes were subsequently banned from the 2022 Winter Paralympics.

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