rainn.png
Monday January 30th, 2023 2:42AM

IOC seeks pathway to let Russians compete at Paris Olympics

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

GENEVA (AP) — The IOC made clear Wednesday it wants Russians to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics as neutral athletes, in defiance of Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call to exclude them entirely.

Citing a “unifying mission” during a time of war, the International Olympic Committee said no athlete should face discrimination based only on the passport they held.

“A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored,” the IOC said in a statement published after an executive board meeting. IOC president Thomas Bach did not hold his usual news conference after the meeting.

Russia was not directly condemned in the statement though athletes who have been “actively supporting the war in Ukraine” face being excluded from the Paris Olympics that open in 18 months’ time, the IOC said.

The IOC cited the example of Yugoslavians competing at the 1992 Barcelona Games — as “independent athletes” while the nation was under United Nations sanctions during a civil war.

The willingness of Olympic leaders to involve Russia and its military ally Belarus is likely to be met with dismay and anger in Kyiv.

Zelenskyy addressed the issue Tuesday after speaking with French president Emmanuel Macron, who helped campaign for the Paris Olympics when it was a bid candidate in 2017.

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

Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a statement later Wednesday that "the voice of common sense has been heard.”

“The priority for us remains the same — to secure the rights and interests of our athletes,” Pozdnyakov said.

The IOC board met to formalize a position after rounds of conference calls last week with global groups of Olympic officials, sports governing bodies, IOC members and athlete representatives.

Despite some pushback in those calls, including from the Ukrainian Olympic body, the IOC claimed Wednesday its stated aims were backed by a “vast majority” of those who took part.

Russians would be classed as “neutral athletes” and “in no way represent their state or any other organization in their country,” the IOC said. Russian athletes have not competed under their country's name at any Olympics since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games because of the fallout from a prolonged doping scandal.

While Russian athletes are banned from most international sports, tennis has been the highest profile example in the past 11 months of Russians continuing to compete without symbols of national identity such as flags and anthems.

However, tensions have flared at the Australian Open with provocative flags, chants and t-shirts in support of players from Russia advancing to the semifinals this week. The IOC noted Wednesday that its advice was to prevent such displays across "the entire venue.”

One point raised in Ukraine as a sensitive issue is that some Russian athletes are funded and supported by the military and have been awarded ranks.

The Olympic statement suggested responsibility would lie with individual sports governing bodies to ensure that any Russian athlete supporting the war is removed from competition, suspended and reported to the IOC for further action.

One possible route for Russians trying to qualify for Paris is competing in Asia rather than Europe where they would face boycotts and hostility from other athletes. The IOC said it “welcomed and appreciated the offer from the Olympic Council of Asia,” though did not commit yet to the plan.

The Olympic body did also call on sports bodies to strengthen “full and unwavering commitment to solidarity with the Ukrainian athletes” preparing for the Paris Games.

___

AP Sports Writer James Ellingworth in Düsseldorf, Germany contributed to this report

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Sports, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
IOC seeks pathway to let Russians compete at Paris Olympics
The IOC has made clear it wants Russians to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics as neutral athletes
1:42PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Citizen journalist's lawsuit heard by federal appeals court
A Texas-based online citizen journalist wants a federal appeals court to revive her lawsuit against Laredo area officials over her 2017 arrest
1:35PM ( 18 minutes ago )
US, Germany sending battle tanks to aid Ukraine war effort
Germany and the United States say they will send tanks to Ukraine as part a coordinated effort by the West to provide dozens of the heavy weapons to help Kyiv break battlefield stalemates as Russia’s invasion enters its 12th month
1:26PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Conference title games are most evenly matched in 25 years
It’s been 25 years since both NFL conference championship games were this evenly matched from an oddsmakers standpoint
12:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
EXPLAINER: Novak Djokovic's successful return to Australia
Novak Djokovic is playing about as well as can be at the Australian Open
10:46AM ( 3 hours ago )
Hurts, Jefferson, Mahomes among AP NFL MVP finalists
Jalen Hurts, Justin Jefferson and Patrick Mahomes are finalists for The Associated Press 2022 NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards
9:55AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Citizen journalist's lawsuit heard by federal appeals court
A Texas-based online citizen journalist wants a federal appeals court to revive her lawsuit against Laredo area officials over her 2017 arrest
1:35PM ( 18 minutes ago )
US, Germany sending battle tanks to aid Ukraine war effort
Germany and the United States say they will send tanks to Ukraine as part a coordinated effort by the West to provide dozens of the heavy weapons to help Kyiv break battlefield stalemates as Russia’s invasion enters its 12th month
1:26PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Man held for knife attack on German train; 2 dead, 7 injured
German officials say a man described as a stateless Palestinian has fatally stabbed two passengers and injured seven others on a train in northern Germany
1:25PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Chiefs' Mahomes to practice as usual on sprained ankle
The Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes went through a morning walkthrough Wednesday and intends to practice as usual, raising expectations that the All-Pro quarterback will not be slowed by his sprained right ankle in this weekend’s AFC title game against the Cincinnati Bengals
1:22PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Norfolk Southern profit up 4% but expenses jump higher
Norfolk Southern delivered 4% more fourth-quarter profit but higher expenses driven by soaring fuel costs hurt the bottom line even as service improved across the railroad
1:17PM ( 37 minutes ago )