The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, has stated that a total ban on Russian athletes at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is not possible. This comes after Ukraine called for a ban on Russian athletes due to the conflict in Ukraine. Bach explained that a final decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be made for a few more days.
However, Bach emphasized that the IOC’s recommendations, which were given to international sporting federations earlier this year, provide a clear indication of how he and his colleagues approach the issue. The guidelines state that athletes who do not support the war and are not linked to the military or other services in Russia or Belarus should be allowed to compete as individual and neutral athletes, but not as representatives of their countries. This approach has been proven effective at recent world and continental championships.
Bach also addressed the concerns of both Ukraine and Russia. He acknowledged that Ukraine may not be completely happy with this compromise, but it offers an opportunity for Ukrainian athletes to qualify for the Olympic Games. On the other hand, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko criticized the compromise, calling it a “humiliating ultimatum” in April. Chernyshenko expressed that Russia does not want its athletes to betray their country in order to participate in the Olympics.
Bach highlighted the importance of following the IOC’s values and principles, stating that it is impossible to ignore the world or isolate individuals with a Russian passport. He emphasized that such actions go against human rights and the Olympic charter.
In addition, Bach rejected the idea that sports has nothing to do with politics, calling it a lie of the past. He believes that the IOC has a responsibility to engage in dialogue with politics to ensure that politics respects their autonomy and neutrality. By doing so, they can contribute to making the world a better place through sports.
In conclusion, the issue of Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is still under consideration. The IOC’s recommendations provide a clear indication of how the issue will be approached, allowing athletes who do not support the war and are not linked to the military or other services in their countries to compete as neutral individuals. This compromise has been effective in recent championships. Both Ukraine and Russia have expressed their concerns, but Bach maintains that a total ban on Russian athletes is not possible and that the IOC’s role includes engaging in dialogue with politics to make the world a better place through sports.