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Russia and Belarus must be banned from the 2024 Olympics!

Russia and Belarus must be banned from the 2024 Olympics!

After almost a year of Ukraine’s fierce resistance to Russian full-scale aggression, the International Olympic Committee is thinking of allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics under a “neutral” banner.

Ukraine has vocalised its disagreement with the potential decision as it would be unjust towards Ukrainian and international athletes to compete alongside representatives of a country currently waging a brutal war.

Ukraine said it would boycott the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes were admitted and called on other countries to pressure the IOC. Ukraine’s President has said that allowing Russia to compete at the 2024 Olympics would amount to showing that “terror is somehow acceptable.”

Numerous countries have already supported Ukraine, including Poland, as well as Baltic and Nordic countries. Poland claimed that up to 40 countries could support a boycott of IOC’s plans.

Famous athletes have come out publicly to express their willingness to boycott the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and to call for solidarity with Ukraine.

We have compiled a list of reasons dissecting why allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in any capacity in the Paris Olympics is wrong. We encourage our readers to use the compilation in understanding Ukraine’s position better and spreading the word.

Sports and government are inseparable in Russia and Belarus.

Almost the entire sports field in Russia is financed by the state or by companies enjoying a close relationship with the Kremlin. Olympic medalists in Russia receive significant financial rewards and expensive gifts from authorities. 

For the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who is complicit in a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, sport also means a lot. He has repeatedly stated that he wants Belarus to be known in the world thanks to sports. 

Numerous Russian athletes are members of the Russian military.

At the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, 45 out of 71 medals Russia received were won by athletes who are members of the Central Sports Club of the Russian Army. Despite the “neutral” flag at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Russian military athletes won 14 out of 32 medals. 

Those Russian military servicemen who kill Ukrainians at this very moment are colleagues of those “neutral athletes”.

Many Russian and Belarusian athletes support the war and the Russian regime.

Ukrainian sports media has launched a continuously-updating database of Russian and Belarusian athletes who have supported the invasion of Ukraine or Lukashenko and Putin’s politics. The database currently includes over 200 athletes.

Moreover, a number of Russian athletes alongside Putin took part in an event dedicated to the illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2022, one month after Russia started a full-scale war. 

A neutral flag does not mean a neutral position.

Even if the Russian athletes take the stage of the Olympics under a white flag, everyone will still know that they are from Russia.

Despite the fact that Russian athletes had already performed at previous Olympics under a neutral flag due to the doping scandal, this has not prevented Russian authorities and propaganda to label the “neutral” Russian athletes’ winnings as achievements of the Russian state.

Rights of Ukrainian athletes must be protected. 

The IOC, citing human rights experts, claims that “banning athletes on the basis of their passport would be discrimination.” 

But what about the human rights of Ukrainian athletes? 

231 of them will never take part in sports competitions because they were killed by Russians.

15 more athletes wounded, 28 detained, and 4 are missing. 

343 sports facilities in Ukraine have been destroyed by the Russian military.

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