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Russia does not plan to boycott the 2024 Olympics

Despite the restrictions imposed on its athletes due to the assault ledé in Ukraine, Russia must not “boycott” the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, estimated Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin on Wednesday.

“We must not turn away, close ourselves off, boycott this movement”, declared the minister during a meeting, referring to the Olympic Games next summer (July 26-August 11) , according to the state agency Tass.

This statement dispels months of speculation about the Russian response to the drastic conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee in early December, the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the summer high mass.

Not only does the IOC require athletes from both countries to compete under a neutral banner – a system forged during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for the Serbs and Montenegrins hit by sanctions international -, but it adds a series of unprecedented criteria.

The athletes concerned will only be able to compete as individuals, prohibiting any demonstration of Russian sporting power during team events, and they must not have actively supported the Russian offensive in Ukraine – a point doubly verified by the federations international organizations then the IOC.

– “Humiliating” treatment –

They will finally have to cross the obstacle of qualifications, while certain international bodies only reinstated them very late in their competitions, and athletics maintains pure and simple exclusion.

The Russia has continued to deem the treatment reserved for its athletes “humiliating” and “discriminatory”, and its President Vladimir Putin has been reserving his opinion on participation in the Paris Olympics for several months.

Russia does not plan to boycott the 2024 Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an interview with TV host and general director of the Rossiya Segodnya news agency Dmitry Kiselyov at the Kremlin, Moscow, March 12, 2024 © POOL – Gavriil GRIGOROV

“To go or not? The conditions must be carefully analyzed,” he declared in December, when only eight Russians and three Belarusians met the IOC criteria.

But while rumors about a Russian boycott agitated the sports movement all winter, Oleg Matytsin felt that it was necessary, “as much as possible, to preserve the possibility of dialogue and participation in competitions”.

The Minister of Sports, however, declared that he was waiting for the next meeting of the IOC Executive Board, from March 19 to 21.

“We will see what the final decision of the International Olympic Committee will be (…) but so far the position is that there will be no new recommendations and regulations,” he said.

The IOC has always presented its December decision as final, but must still decide on one point: the presence of the Russians and Belarusians at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, while the International Paralympic Committee prohibits them from marching during that of the Paralympic Games. on August 28.

– Risk of breakup –

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian army with the support of Belarus, at the end of February 2022, the Lausanne body balances between several considerations: sanctioning this resounding violation of the Olympic truce decreed around the Beijing 2022 Olympics, taking into account the strong Western hostility to athletes Russians, but also preserve the participation of all athletes, without political consideration.

“With a heavy heart”, the IOC initially recommended the exclusion of Russians and Belarusians from international competitions to preserve their own security and avoid cascading boycotts, before orchestrating their gradual return from March 2023.

The organization also keeps an eye on the competitions launched by Russia – Future Games then BRICS Games in Kazan, “World Friendship Games” on 15 to September 29 in Moscow and Yekaterinburg -, which threaten to fracture international sport.

Russia does not plan to boycott the 2024 Olympics

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, South Korea, January 19, 2024. © OIS/IOC – Chloe KNOTT

Even before its offensive against Ukraine, Russia had seen its participation in the Olympics limited due to a series of state doping scandals which discredited a large number of Russian athletes and officials .

Despite overwhelming evidence, the Kremlin has denied any organized doping system and here too described the sanctions as anti-Russian punitive measures.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116