Mega-Money Russian-Led World Friendship Games Postponed to 2025

The World Friendship Games, being organized by Russia as an alternative to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, have been postponed to 2025.

Originally scheduled for September 2024, the International Friendship Association (IFA) cited concerns over athlete safety, opposition from international sporting federations, and create conflicts for athletes from countries that are competing in the Olympic Games.

The event was to feature 36 sports hosted at 21 venues: 17 in Moscow and four in Yekaterinburg in the extreme eastern end of the country. That includes swimming events hosted in a sparkling new Yekaterinburg aquatics complex.

The idea is a revival of the 1984 concept when the USSR and other countries boycotted the Olympic Games in Los Angeles as retaliation for the American-led boycott of the Moscow Games four years earlier. Russia and Belarus are officially banned from this summer’s Olympic Games, though some of their athletes are able to participate as individual neutral athletes.

The organization of the event has led to a war-of-words between the IOC and Russian organizers, with the IOC warning that participation would go against its Executive Board’s recommendation to not participate in sporting events hosted in Russia, with Russian officials replying that the event was not designed to be in competition with the Olympics.

The BRICS Games, designed as another disruption to the world order of sport and politics, was hosted earlier this year. While there were a number of participants at that event, it was short on elite-level competitors, especially in swimming.

The Friendship Games were touting around 4.6 billion Russian rubles (around $52 million USD) in prize money for the event to differentiate it from the Olympic Games, which do not provide prize money to athletes. If distributed equally across the sports, that would come out to about $1.4 million in prize money per sport.



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Giles Anderson
8 days ago

What an absolute abomination Russia is as a nation. Literally anything that comes out of Poutines mouth is a lie. Friendship my ass.

Spieker Pool Lap Swimmer
8 days ago

Russia needs that prize money to build more turtle tanks and armored golf carts.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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