Paris Olympics 2024: IOC aiming to include Russian athletes despite Ukrainian president’s call for their ban

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Despite Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for Russian athletes to be banned from the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the International Olympic Committee wants to provide an opportunity for those athletes to compete.

Following an executive board meeting on Wednesday, the IOC made it clear that athletes would not be punished simply because of where they were born.

“No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport,” the IOC said in a statement.

The IOC also said it wanted to create a “pathway” for all athletes to participate in the 2024 Olympics while also noting that certain governments would not have the power to determine which athletes get to compete and which athletes had to watch from the sidelines.

“Governments must not decide which athletes can participate in which competition and which athletes cannot,” the IOC wrote.

Although Russia was not explicitly mentioned in the IOC’s statement, it did say that athletes could compete as “neutral athletes” with no ties to any particular country. In recent Olympic games, Russian athletes have participated under the moniker “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and have not competed under the country’s flag.

While the IOC emphasized that athletes would not be banned due to the actions of their native country, it also added that “only those who have not acted against the peace mission of the IOC by actively supporting the war in Ukraine could compete.”

During a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron, Zelensky expressed his desire that Russian athletes be banned from the Paris Olympics next year due to Russian’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

“I particularly emphasized that athletes from Russia should have no place at the Olympic Games in Paris,” Zelensky wrote on his Telegram account.

Although Zelensky has been clear in his wishes, the IOC said that the “vast majority” of participants in its consultation meetings wanted there to be a way for all athletes to compete in the 2024 Olympics under certain conditions.

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