Russians, Belarusians Allowed to Take Part in Paris Olympics as Neutrals Without Flags, Anthems, Logo
Russians and Belarusian athletes, who will qualify in their sport for the Paris 2024 Olympics, will be allowed to take part as neutrals without flags, emblems or anthems, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Friday.
“The Executive Board (EB) of the IOC has decided that Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations (IFs) on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024,” the Olympic body said in a statement.
“Individual Neutral Athletes are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport.”
The neutral athletes will compete only in individual sports and no teams for the two countries will be allowed. Athletes who actively support the war in Ukraine are not eligible, nor are those contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military.
The IOC also said no Russian or Belarusian government or state official would be invited to or accredited for Paris 2024.
Russians and Belarusians had initially been banned from competing internationally following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the IOC decision and said it was a “shameful” decision. Russia’s Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin called the conditions set by the IOC for Russian athletes’ participation at the Olympics “discriminatory.”
Out of 4,600 athletes globally who have so far qualified for the Games, which open on July 26, eight are Russians and three hold Belarusian passports. More than 60 Ukrainians have qualified.