The question of the integration of Russian athletes into the Paris 2024 competitions is raised again, less than eight months before the start of the Olympic Games. Representatives of international federations and national Olympic committees demanded, on Tuesday, the admission “as soon as possible” of Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral banner to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, according to a press release published after the 12th Olympic Summit.
This closed-door meeting, organized at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, had already begun last year the conditional reintegration of the two countries into world sport, and more broadly allows the majority positions to be established within the Olympic world.
However, this year’s signal is clear: the president of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, the Finnish Emma Terho, also “expressed her approval for this request” from the federations and NOCs, specifying that “overall, the vast majority of “Athletes should not be punished for the actions of their governments.”
The athletes’ commission calls for “clarity”
And while the IOC has been insisting since March that it will decide on a possible admission of Russians and Belarusians “at the appropriate time”, she added that “clarity on (this) question would be appreciated by the athletes, because the Olympic Games of Paris is fast approaching,” according to the press release.
For its part, the Olympic body limited itself to “confirming that the participation of such neutral individual athletes in the Olympic Games could only occur under the strict conditions” set in March for their return to international competition: under a neutral banner, in excluding team sports, and on condition of not having actively supported the conflict in Ukraine.
“Neither the qualification system (for the Paris Games) developed by the international federations, nor the number of places allocated to a sport will be modified for neutral athletes holding a Russian or Belarusian passport,” continued the IOC, without comment. might as well specify when he would decide.
Competing at least under a neutral banner is also the desire of the Russian authorities. In mid-September, the Kremlin said it hoped for a return of Russia to “the Olympic family”. “We hope that reason will triumph, that the idea of Olympism will triumph and that we will return to the Olympic family,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
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