IOC Vice-President raises concern: Potential Limitation of Russian athletes at Paris 2024

IOC Vice-President raises concern: Potential Limitation of Russian athletes at Paris 2024

As few as forty Russian athletes are expected to compete as neutrals at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, according to vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) John Coates. Only a select few Russian and Belarusian athletes are permitted to compete in Paris under rigorous guidelines due to sanctions imposed as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, for which Belarus served as a staging station. The inclusion of the neutral athletes is still a sensitive topic; Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, called the decision in December to accept them “shameful.” Last Monday, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, declared that she opposed Russian sportsmen competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Statement by IOC Vice-President

Coates said, “The problem is how many (Russian athletes) are going to be there too, because they’re not going to be in any team sports because they can’t compete as Russia.” The 73-year-old said, “Anyone who is ready out of the Russian military clubs, they’re not going.” “I’m not sure, but it makes sense that some athletes might decide not to travel if they aren’t representing Russia.” In conclusion, Coates, who was also the Australian Olympic Committee’s president in the past said, “I might be right, but I think that I’ve read that might be as little as 40.” 

This summer, neutral athletes will only participate in individual sports and won’t wear flags, insignia, or national anthems. Athletes who actively back the conflict in Ukraine or who have contracts with the Belarusian or Russian armed forces are not allowed to compete. The limitations are deemed “illegitimate, unfair, and unacceptable” by Moscow, which refers to the invasion as a “special military operation.” However, Russia’s Olympic chairman, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, has assured that the country’s athletes would not boycott the Games.

Reasons for potential limitation

Rumored to have won 71 medals, 335 competitors competed for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in the Tokyo Summer Games in 2021 despite being barred from competing under the Russian flag due to doping penalties. Seven medals were won by the 101 athletes from Belarus. Since then, the IOC has suspended the ROC for acknowledging regional Olympic committees in areas that Ukraine has seized; the Court of Arbitration for Sport has affirmed this decision. Competitors from the two nations are prohibited from competing in some sports, such as equestrian, and since early 2022, Russian and Belarusian competitors have been barred from World Athletics. Some, like the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and World Swimming, will permit Belarusians and Russians to compete despite the IOC’s prohibitions. Daniil Medvedev, the rising star in Russian tennis, declared earlier this month that he would follow the regulations and was excited to compete in Paris.

Impact on Russian athletes

The Paris Olympics are scheduled for July 26 August 11, 2018. Just eight Russians and three Belarusian athletes with passports were among the 4,600 competitors who had qualified at the time of the December decision on neutral participants. Over sixty Ukrainian athletes had already qualified for the Olympics at that point. The IOC received a proposal from Paris 2024 to include four new sports that are strongly linked to children and that honor both physical prowess and inventiveness. These activities include surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing, and breaking. The 1980 Summer Olympics were held in Moscow, Soviet Union, and the 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russian Federation. Russian athletes have won 425 medals at the Summer Olympics and 121 more at the Winter Olympics in just six visits.

Boycott Paris 2024: Limitation of Russian athletes

The call to boycott the Paris 2024 Olympics gains momentum amidst concerns over the limited participation of Russian athletes. With only a fraction allowed to compete as neutrals, criticism mounts against the IOC’s decision. Issues of human rights violations, surveillance, and security flaws further fuel the argument for abstention, amplifying the global discourse on ethics in sports.


In conclusion, Russia was barred from the Olympic Games in 2017 as a result of the government-sponsored doping scandal. Russian athletes were granted permission to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Additionally, they are permitted to represent the Russian Olympic Committee in competition at the Summer Olympics in 2020 and the Winter Olympics in 2022.



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