Russians in Paris

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has again defended the decision to permit Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete under a neutral or Olympic flag at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

“Individual athletes cannot be punished for the actions of their governments,” Bach told the BBC in Geneva, Switzerland.

“One war out of 28 wars and conflicts in the world and all the other athletes are competing peacefully,” he said.

Ukraine itself has hinted it may boycott the games, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying Russian athletes “cannot be covered up with a pretence of neutrality.”

What Bach does not understand is that many of the other conflicts are different. For example, in Ethiopia, the on and off again Tigray conflict is civil, not one country illegally invading another. The so-called Mexican issue is a drug war, and much closer to gang war. Russia also happens to be a so-called superpower. Ukraine is not and as Russia continues to attack the much smaller Ukraine, the country is turning the battle into a proxy war between the west (NATO, America etc) and Russia.

Lord Sebastian Coe says, “no.”

Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, certainly feels that Russian athletes can be blocked, he refuses to all them to compete in the largest portion of the Olympic Games.

“You may well see neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus in Paris, but they just won’t be from athletics,” said Coe, who was speaking at the two-day World Athletics Council meeting that took place in Monaco. “The position our sport took, and has consistently taken, on this is unchanged.”

Russia is not happy

Russia’s Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin called the conditions “discriminatory.”

“They are damaging the Olympic Games themselves, and not Russian sports. The approach is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. 

If the decision is not damaging to Russian sports, then how is it unacceptable to Matytsin?

Meanwhile, IOC President Thomas Bach, said he understood the call but added it contradicted the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Olympic Charter.

“This puts us in a dilemma. If we set a precedent, it will destroy Olympic sport. We’re talking about international competitions, which can then become a political pawn,” Bach said.

Bombing a neighbouring country is not against the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but banning a country from doing so is? And Bach wants the politics out of sport. Bach is deflecting as these are weaponized words the root issue is about Russia’s attack on Ukraine being illegal and inhumane. Same with the Israeli and Palestinian conflict.