Zelensky demands Russian, Belarusian athletes be barred from 2024 Olympics

Zelensky said that "to bring Russian athletes back into the Olympic Games are attempts to tell the whole world that terror is somehow acceptable."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Zelensky definitely doesn't want Russian athletes to be allowed to compete in the 2024 Olympics. Instead, he wants the international athletic community and the International Olympic Committee to punish hardworking Russian athletes for the actions of their president. These athletes, he said have "no place" at the upcoming Paris summer games.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky brought up the matter with French President Emmanuel Macron, telling him that leaders in Moscow should not be able to use an international showing at the Olympics to perpetrate propaganda about the war between the two countries. That war began in February 2022, when Russia invaded its smaller neighboring nation.

For its part, the IOC has not committed to banning Russian athletes from competition, instead saying last week that athletes from Russia and Belarus could compete as neutral. The IOC said that "no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport."

The IOC further said that athletes from these nations who wished to compete in the games and in the qualifying rounds leading up to that top level of competition would be required to be neutral, "and in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country."

But the IOC went further in their statement, saying that those participating competitors must not have "acted against the peace mission of the IOC by actively supporting the war in Ukraine."

The IOC has previously stripped Russia of 43 Olympic medals due to the discovery that Russian athletes had been given performance-enhancing drugs by their government. This violation of anti-doping policies has prevented Russian athletes from competing in many international contests, and Russian athletes already do not compete under their own flag due to the doping discovery.

In 2018, 2021 and 2022, Russian athletes competed under the Olympic flag, and were identified as Olympic Athletes from Russia, and later the Russian Olympic Committee Athletes.

In his own address on the matter, Zelensky said that "to bring Russian athletes back into the Olympic Games are attempts to tell the whole world that terror is somehow acceptable." Russia, he went on, must not be allowed to use the presence of their athletes at the Olympics "or any other sport event as propaganda for its aggression or its state chauvinism."

The UK backs Zelensky, saying that Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to compete in the 2024 Paris games, and Zelensky invoked the Nazis, saying that the 1936 Berlin Olympics signified "a major Olympic mistake. The Olympic movement and terrorist states definitely should not cross paths."

In 1920, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire were barred from sending athletes to the Olympics. This was due to their having led the charge into World War I, which consumed Europe and much of the globe. Germany, in response, hosted the "German Combat Games," which continued even after they were invited back to Olympic participation in 1928.

Germany and Japan were prevented from participating in London's 1948 games due to World War II, though both were back in Oslo in 1952's winter events. South Africa was banned due to apartheid from 1964 to 1988, making those athletes unable to participate in Tokyo, Mexico, Munich, Montreal, Moscow, Los Angeles, or Seoul. They finally came back to the games in 1992.

Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, was barred from the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich, after pressure from Kenya, Ethiopia, and other African nations. This ban happened after the athletes had already been sent to compete, and they were stuck watching the games from the stands.

The US and Canada boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics due to Soviet Russia's invasion of Afghanistan, an action later repeated by the US after September 11, 2001, which saw the beginning of a war in that nation that ended with the withdrawal of troops in the summer of 2021. In response to that boycott, 14 Eastern Bloc countries did not participate in 1984, with the charge led by the Soviet Union.

Afghanistan was barred from play in 2000 over their refusal to allow women from their country to compete. India was out over corruption charges in 2014, as was Kuwait in 2016.

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