USOPC will listen to any IOC plan for Russians to compete at Paris Games

usopc-will-listen-to-any-ioc-plan-for-russians-to-compete-at-paris-games
USOPC will listen to any IOC plan for Russians to compete at Paris Games

On June 26, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) expressed its unwavering support for Ukraine but is open to hearing any International Olympic Committee (IOC) proposal to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals at the 2024 Paris Games. As the Olympics are just over a year away, pressure is mounting on the IOC, national Olympic committees, sporting federations, and governments to decide on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris Games. The IOC sanctioned Russia and Belarus after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but earlier this year, it recommended that their athletes be permitted to return to international competition as neutrals. USOPC chair Gene Sykes has repeatedly stated that they stand with Ukraine but will consider any plan put forth by the IOC, which recently announced that it has ample time to make a decision on Russian participation. There are growing concerns that if Russian athletes are allowed to compete in Paris, even as neutrals, it could trigger a boycott of the Games led by Ukraine. “We believe there are numerous challenges to ensuring that we support the Olympic values and athletes simultaneously,” Sykes said during a conference call on Monday. “We’ve been quite measured and willing to give the IOC the opportunity to explore the possibility, understanding how Russian or Belarusian athletes who are neutral, truly neutral, could compete in international competition. That has been our approach so far, making sure we are watching carefully and constructively engaging with the IOC to share our view.” Several international federations have included Russian and Belarusian athletes who can compete without a flag or anthem, while those who support the war or are affiliated with military or national security agencies are excluded. However, the Paris Olympics are not included in this decision, and a separate decision must be made by the IOC. The challenging aspect of such a plan is determining which athletes are genuinely neutral. The USOPC stated that independent organizations like Sportradar are providing input and background checks and making that information available to federations. “Although the broader conversation related to (Russian) participation has shifted over time, our position has not,” Sykes said. “Above all else, we stand in solidarity with the people and athletes of Ukraine.”

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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