The International Federations called for “a decision as soon as possible” on the participation of Russians and Belarusians in Paris

With eight months to go before the start of the Olympic Games, the IOC has not yet defined the situation of athletes from Russia and Belarus, who, if left alone, will be able to do so as neutrals and individually. The request was supported by the National Olympic Committees and the Athletes’ Commission.

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Ukrainian refugees protest against any participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games before the visit of Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the Ruhr Political Forum in Essen, Germany, March 22, 2023. The placard reads "any Neutral flag for Russian athletes is covered with blood" and "No Olympics for Russia and Belarus". Russian REUTERS/Jana Rodenbusch
Ukrainian refugees protest against any participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games before the visit of Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the Ruhr Political Forum in Essen, Germany, March 22, 2023. The placard reads "any Neutral flag for Russian athletes is covered with blood" and "No Olympics for Russia and Belarus". Russian REUTERS/Jana Rodenbusch

It’s a loud truth that an Olympic athlete doesn’t do it overnight.

Not in a month.

Not in a year.

Achieving such status is usually impossible without devoting everything to the cause.

In many cases, it’s only once in a lifetime.

This is how it is today, it has been since we changed the concept of amateur to that of full-time dedication, and I suspect that this will have been the case in endless times.

Strangely enough, those who should be more aware of the level of wear and tear that means not knowing if, even having won on the court their bed in the Olympic Village, you will be eligible for the Parisian event are the ones who delay some key definitions the most.

Just eight months to go.

Athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee attend a welcoming ceremony after returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Red Square in Moscow, Russia August 9, 2021.  REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
Athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee attend a welcoming ceremony after returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Red Square in Moscow, Russia August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

The participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in Paris 2024 was one of the highlights that the main leaders of the Olympic Movement discussed at the 12th Olympic Summit, which took place at the Olympic House in Lausanne (Switzerland) with the presence of Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC remains undefined and the International Federations asked for “a decision as soon as possible” regarding the situation of athletes from these two countries, who if they are in the Olympic Games will only be under the condition of neutral and in the individual modality.

The body chaired by Bach reported that at the 12th Olympic Summit, “representatives of the International Summer Sports Federations asked the IOC to declare those AINs (individual and neutral athletes) who have qualified or are qualified on the field of play eligible to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games”.

In addition, the International Federations “called for a decision as soon as possible to clarify all their Olympic qualification procedures and for all affected athletes”. The request was supported by representatives of the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees.

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The IOC Athletes’ Commission, for its part, informed the Summit that “the opinion of the vast majority of athletes is that athletes should not be punished for the actions of their governments”, and also “emphasized that the strict conditions that have been implemented in the qualification procedure must be maintained and applied consistently in all Olympic sports in which AINs are eligible to participate”.

As well as the International Federations and the National Olympic Committees, the Athletes’ Commission also “concluded that clarity as to whether AINs will be able to compete in Paris and the conditions for their participation would be welcomed by athletes, as the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are rapidly approaching”.

In the absence of a definitive resolution and due to these requests made at the Summit, the IOC reiterated that “the participation of these AINs in the Olympic Games could only take place under the strict existing conditions” and stressed that “neither the classification system developed by the respective International Federations nor the number of places allocated to a sport will be modified for AINs with Russian or Belarusian passports. They will have to meet all the eligibility criteria applicable to any Olympic athlete.”

In addition, the Olympic Movement was once again against athletes participating in possible competitions organized in Russia, considering them to be clearly politically motivated.