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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Ukraine Mulls Olympic Boycott If Russia, Belarus Compete

  • Ukraine's sports minister said the country could boycott the 2024 Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed.
  • The IOC said "a pathway for athletes' participation" should be "further explored."
Paris-2024
Paris 2024

Ukraine could refrain from participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete.

“Our position is unchanged: As long as there is a war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be in international competitions,” Ukraine sports minister Vadim Guttsaid wrote. “Work is currently underway on further possible steps and first steps to continue sanctions.”

“If we are not heard, I do not rule out the possibility that we will boycott and refuse participation in the Olympics.”

The International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that no athlete should “be prevented from competing just because of their passport,” also citing a “unifying mission.” 

  • “A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored,” the statement reads.
  • The Olympic Council of Asia offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in Asia.

The European Olympic Committee endorsed the idea of a pathway on Thursday.

Change in Position

Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the IOC advised international sports federations to exclude the former’s athletes from competitions. 

“I want to be clear that this position from the IOC is a world away from the reality of war being felt by the Ukrainian people — and IOC president [Thomas] Bach’s own words less than a year ago where he strongly condemned Russia for breaking the Olympic Truce,” said U.K culture secretary Michelle Donelan.

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