Russian Swimmer Ivan Girev Cancels His Neutral Status Designation for Paris 2024 Olympics

Russian Olympic swimmer Ivan Girev has canceled his request to compete as a neutral athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games according to Vladimir Salnikov, the head of the All-Russia Swimming Federation.

Girev was a Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s 800 free relay and the 2017 world junior champion in the 200 freestyle.

Salinkov says that with Girev’s cancellation, there were no other requests.

“Athletes decide this issue on their own, but I don’t see a single person,” Salnikov said.

World Aquatics currently lists 17 individuals with approved requests. The vast majority of those are Belarusian, including swimmers Ilya Shymanovich and Anastasia Shkurdai, but two Russians are approved as “Support Personnel”: Elena Karpeeva and Nikita Lugovkin. Karpeeva is a South Africa-based strength & conditioning and swim coach who swam in college in the US and works with Shkurdai and Shymanovich. Lugovkin is a coach who has worked with a number of Olympic and World Championship level swimmers like Andrei Minakov and Svetlana Chimrova.

The IOC has put the burden onto the International Federations to approve or reject neutral status within the IOC’s guidelines.

Earlier this year, the World Aquatics Integrity Unit released a list of eight approved neutral swimmers for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships, who would then presumably maintain that status through the Olympic Games if they adhered to the terms of neutrality.

“My personal ambitions influenced my decision (to apply for neutral status),” Girev told SwimSwam at the time. “In summer 2023, I showed my best results, having COVID-19 shortly before the beginning. Then, unfortunately, our team was suspended from the Olympic Games in Paris.

“The Olympics aren’t just regular competitions,” added Girev, who won an Olympic silver medal swimming on Russia’s 4×200 freestyle relay in Tokyo. “It’s the worldwide event, which is remarkable to participate in. All athletes want to take part in it.

“This story is exactly about world swimming and my place in it. But I want to be with my team in Paris and embody the experience I’ve got in the past few years with them.”

Girev said that he did not feel any pressure to skip the Olympics at that time.

The absence from the Olympics doesn’t mean Russian swimmers won’t be competing this summer, however. The All-Russia Swimming Federation has announced its selection criteria for the upcoming BRICS Sports Games, designed as a coy alternative to the Olympic Games and set for June 11-24 in Kazan.

Also, after a recent World Aquatics ruling that allows Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under their flags at a competition in Bosnia & Herzegovina, at least one star athlete, Andrei Minakov has committed to race, according to Russian media. This meet will follow the Russian Championships that begin next week in Kazan.

Minakov was the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the 100 fly in long course.

Yulia Efimova, who has lived in the United States since 2011, says she is considering applying for neutral status – if her times at the Russian Championships indicate that she might win a medal.

The IOC has placed conditions on Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, including a commitment to respect the Olympic Charter, including “the peace mission of the Olympic Movement” among other conditions. The IOC says that the Russian and Belarusian invasion of Ukraine and specifically Russia’s annexation of regional Ukrainian sporting organizations is a violation of the Olympic charter, a point that was upheld by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this year.

Individual athletes (but not teams) who compete with neutral status are allowed to compete, but they cannot attend the opening ceremonies and will not be mentioned in the medals table. Russia was officially barred from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to issues with the country’s anti-doping system, though the restrictions on participation in the last edition were much less than those imposed for the 2024 Games.

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1 month ago

If athletes in neutral status cannot attend the opening ceremonies and will not be mentioned in the medals table, is it about punishing the aggressor, namely, Russian Federation, or just humiliating some human beings that have already would endured quite a lot just to get there?

Pater velski
1 month ago

Too many top atheltes choose not to compete, making me believe that pressure from the authorities directed this choice

1 month ago

“Decide not to go, and you will live”

Good decision

Stewart Fenwick
Reply to  Teddy
1 month ago


1 month ago

In Paris we will see Russian tennis players and wrestlers.

About Braden Keith

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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