Volodymyr Zelensky urges countries to force IOC to ban Russian athletes


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a warm appeal to a group of 35 international sports and government ministers on Friday, urging them to push the International Olympic Committee to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating. participating in the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics Olympic.

“The Russian state has chosen the path of terror, and that is why it has no place in the civilized world,” Zelensky said in a phone call with US Assistant Secretary of State Lee Satterfield.

The call is set to settle a heated debate about what to do with athletes from Russia and Belarus with the Paris Games next 17 months and the key Olympic qualifying events set to begin next season. this spring. The IOC is calling on all sports federations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions but is still looking into ways to allow them to participate in the 2024 Olympics, possibly as stand-alone athletes. establishment, which Mr. Zelensky objected.

Ukraine lobbies to ban Russian athletes from Paris Olympics

“How many Russian athletes have spoken out in condemning the terrorist act perpetrated by their state?” Zelensky said to the ministers according to a transcript of his remarks, released by his office. “In fact, there is almost no such condemnation. Only a few isolated voices are disappearing.”

After Russia invaded Ukraine last winter, the IOC banned participation in international sporting events held in Russia and Belarus and asked all sports federations to ban athletes from these two countries. But it has recently softened that stance, citing its “unifying mission” to promote sport above political conflicts. Over the past few months, the IOC has built up support for this effort from many major countries.

“The question of athletes’ participation is very different from the question of sanctions against their governments,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. said in December. “The issue of athletes’ participation has never been and cannot be part of sanctions as the condition of the Olympic Movement has been, has always been, and remains that of athletes. [should] not be defamed for the actions of their government as long as they do not contribute to or support that government.”

US Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials support the IOC’s ban on Russia and Belarus and supported the efforts of the IOC seek possible ways to allow athletes from those countries to participate in the Paris Olympics but only if it is clear they are competing as individuals and not as representatives of Russia or Belarus.

The State Department will consult with the USOPC to determine the country’s policy regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the 2024 Olympics, a State Department spokesperson said.

In recent days, leaders of some European countries pushed back about the IOC’s efforts to allow Russian athletes to participate in the Olympics, even threatening a boycott.


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