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International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach now sits on the fence regarding Russia’s participation in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Initially, Bach and the IOC committee had publically stated that Russia should not be permitted to compete in international sport nor the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. In early 2023 Bach did an about-face and began to campaign in support of Russia competing in Paris. At least in terms of athletes representing the Russian Olympic Committee under a neutral flag or the Olympic flag, with no Russian national anthem to be played at awards ceremonies. All of this is related to the Russian attack on Ukraine, not the systematic doping ban.

Bach told the European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly that the IOC’s position is non-negotiable.

“Let me re-confirm what we said from the very beginning, these conditions are non-negotiable, and we will not waiver. 

“They have to be strictly applied to give this approach the credibility and support it currently enjoys among the public, the athletes and the international community.

“This support has to be earned day-by-day by strict application.”

The IOC continues to wrongly accuse governments of double standards regarding Russia’s proposed return to competition.

“It is deplorable to see that some Governments do not want to respect the majority within the Olympic Movement or the autonomy of sport which they are requesting from other countries, and are praising in countless speeches and UN [United Nations] and European Union resolutions,” a statement from the IOC read.

Meanwhile, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka addressed the 47th General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations in June. He told the audience that WADA continues to have trust issues with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and that the agency continues to be non-compliant.

“RUSADA will remain non-compliant until it fulfils each of the reinstatement conditions set by the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” said Bańka.

Bach continued to lobby in favour of Russia partaking in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Bach has been saying that “naysayers” who do not want Russia in the Olympics need to separate politics from sport. He has also said to the media that some events have included Russian athletes and that those events went well. That’s not the issue at hand.

The issue at hand is that Russia shouldn’t be permitted to parade around with the nation’s brand, anthem, flag and name, while they are killing Ukrainians. While the blanket drug ban for systematic doping should be reason enough, illegal war is stepping over any political or moral boundaries.

Bach should choose a lane and stay in it.

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