Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian and Belarusian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals

The IOC recommended to sports federations in March that only individual athletes from Russia and Belarus should be allowed to compete – not teams representing those nations.

It also said athletes and support personnel who actively support the war in Ukraine must remain excluded.

“The protection of the rights of individual athletes to participate in competitions despite the suspension of their National Olympic Committee is a well-established practice, respecting human rights,” the IOC said.

Sports federations had called for the IOC to reach a decision to “bring clarity” to Olympic qualifying events.

The Olympic body was criticised earlier this year for saying it was “exploring a pathway” for Russian and Belarusians to compete at Paris 2024, with the United Kingdom among more than 30 countries to pledge support for an ongoing ban at the time.

The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended by the IOC “with immediate effect until further notice” in October after it recognised regional organisations from four Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Russia.

Among its considerations in reaching the decision, the IOC said an “overwhelming majority of athletes” did not want to “punish fellow athletes for the actions of their government”.

It also reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Ukrainian athletes “in every way possible, in order to see a strong team from the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine at the Olympic Games Paris 2024”.

The Paris Olympics take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024.

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