The IOC accuses Russia of making criticisms “above what is acceptable”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that the International Olympic Committee was leaning “towards racism and neo-Nazism.” Immediately, the IOC responded that the line was being crossed with the accusations.

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THOMAS BACH SPOKE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON WEDNESDAY IN LAUSANNE.
THOMAS BACH SPOKE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON WEDNESDAY IN LAUSANNE.

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on July 26 and also criticized the Russian government for wanting to hold its own “Friendship Games” to rival those to be held in the French capital.

That decision caused a lot of anger in the Kremlin, which responded through Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova: “The exclusion shows how far the IOC has strayed from its established principles and that it is leaning towards racism and neo-Nazism.”

During the press conference held yesterday in Lausanne, the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, was consulted for these statements that came from Moscow: “The sayings that come from Russia are extremely aggressive and even very personal towards me,” said the German, while giving the floor to the institution’s spokesman, Mark Adams, to expand the response.

Adams emphasized: “We have seen some very aggressive statements that came out of Russia today, but there is one comment that actually goes beyond that, that links the president, his nationality and the Holocaust. We consider that to be completely unacceptable and reaches a new low.”

The IOC allowed Russians and Belarusians to compete as neutrals as long as they did not actively support the attack on Ukraine. Official Zakharova argued that this neutral status forced her country’s athletes to “renounce any connection with their homeland, citizenship, history, culture and people.”

Russia, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics with Sochi, plans to host its own multinational Friendship Games in September, further infuriating the IOC. Referring to this event, Bach said: “Everyone who follows the rules is welcome in the Olympic movement. As soon as the Russian Olympic Committee is willing to follow the rules, you will be welcome again. The ball is in his court.”

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