IOC Continues To Explore Pathway For Russian Participation At Paris 2024

Although adamant that a decision on Russian participation at the 2024 Olympics has not been made, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to explore a pathway for that to come to fruition.

On Tuesday, the IOC Executive Board issued a set of recommendations for international federations regarding Russian and Belarusian participation in “international sport” at the conclusion of the first of its three-day Board meeting.

President Thomas Bach said that Russian and Belarusian participation was still being discussed and would not offer a timeline for any decision.

“We want to monitor the implementation of these recommendations for as long as possible and make an informed decision,” Bach said at a press conference, refuting the suggestion that the IOC was stalling in hopes of the war ending and therefore making a decision much easier.

“We are not kicking (the decision) down the road, and we are not waiting.

“We all would like the war to end now and this is what we are calling for, but as you can see from all the reasons we’re giving, the conditions are not related to the development of the war, they are related to the respect for the Olympic Charter and the Olympic values. We have to address these questions.”

The recommendations made by the IOC for international federations in order to bring Russian and Belarusian athletes back into competition were centered around them competing as neutrals, under a neutral flag. It also said any athlete that openly shows solidarity with Russia in its war with Ukraine should not be allowed to compete, and the IOC also recommended banning any athletes who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian militaries or national security agencies.

The recommendations were as follows:

  1. Athletes with a Russian or a Belarusian passport must compete only as Individual Neutral Athletes.
  2. Teams of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport cannot be considered.
  3. Athletes who actively support the war cannot compete. Support personnel who actively support the war cannot be entered.
  4. Athletes who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies cannot compete. Support personnel who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies cannot be entered.
  5. Any such Individual Neutral Athlete, like all the other participating athletes, must meet all anti-doping requirements applicable to them and particularly those set out in the anti-doping rules of the IFs.
  6. The sanctions against those responsible for the war, the Russian and Belarusian states and governments, must remain in place:
    1. No international sports events organised or supported by an IF or NOC in Russia or Belarus.
    2. No flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications whatsoever of these countries displayed at any sports event or meeting, including the entire venue.
    3. No Russian and Belarusian government or state official can be invited to or accredited for any international sports event or meeting.

If these recommendations end up being implemented for the Paris Olympic Games, Russia’s medal count would see a massive hit. At the Tokyo 2020 Games, Russia took home 71 medals, with nearly half of them achieved by members of military and law enforcement agencies, according to Inside The Games.

The IOC has also said that athletes and their support staff must refrain from any activity or communication associated with Russian or Belarusian national symbols at all competitions.

“In an event of any athlete failing to respect the strict conditions of participation, the International Federation and sports event organizers concerned should immediately remove them from the competition and suspend them from any further competitions,” Kaveh Mehrabi, the IOC Athletes Department Director, told Inside The Games.

“You will see here that with this criteria we are trying to address the point of any athletes making statements related to the war.”

The Russian war in Ukraine rages on more than 13 months after the initial invasion in February 2022. The two countries are currently fighting for control of areas in eastern and southern Ukraine. Ukrainian troops have liberated nearly 30,000 square miles of their territory from Russian forces since the onset of the invasion.

A total of 8,401 civilian deaths have occurred during the war as of Monday, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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1 year ago

I think what the IOC might be trying to do is copy and paste the neutral athlete rules for Yugoslavia (ie. Serbia & Montenegro) in 1992 for Paris 2024 and beyond. And it’s not copying and pasting over so well.

Tracy Kosinski
1 year ago

I truly feel sorry for these athletes. What a horrible position to be in. Not being able to represent your country at the Olympics is as bad as it gets.

Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
1 year ago

Thinking about the dead Ukrainian athletes I hope.

1 year ago

Until their Ukranian counterparts can compete, they should not be allowed to do so. Even then, give a couple of years for the Ukranian athletes to train and then allow the Russian athletes to compete. This would still not be fair but at least some consolation.

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
1 year ago

I’m curious what this means for Minakov and his international future. I know he didn’t have a great NCAAs, but he seems to have gone right back home to Russia. I wonder if they’re requiring that of him.

(I realize he’ll never say, but I still wanna know).

Ledger 33
1 year ago

Not a word out of Captain corruption and FINA for awhile, although he did lead a session with Asian Youth representatives recently where it was concluded RUS and BLR should be allowed to compete at neutrals. KEEP THEM OUT THE WATER!

1 year ago

I think individual Russian athletes should only be allowed to participate if another country’s national team is willing to add them to their own team. Their eventual medals would naturally count for the country that welcomes them

This would be a fitting counterpart to the many ukrainian refugees which had to seek help and shelter in neighbouring european countries

You could imagine that a country can only accept at most a set number of russian athletes in a given sport, which would limit the ability of Russia to negociate their athletes as a whole to a russian friendly country

Steve Nolan
Reply to  CasualSwimmer
1 year ago

Bruh what

1 year ago

Seems like Rylov would be out as he has shown support for the war

1 year ago

Thank god, about time Murphy has some competition in 2 back lol

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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