Olympics 2024: IOC opens door to Russian and Belarussian athletes competing in Paris

Russia flag at Olympics Games

Athletes would not be able to compete under the Russian flag

Russian and Belarussian athletes could be free to compete as neutrals at the 2024 Olympics after the International Olympic Committee said it will “explore a pathway” for their participation.

The IOC called on federations to exclude athletes from the countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This week Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian athletes should have “no place” at the Paris Games.

But the IOC’s statement on Wednesday could clear the way for their return.

It said “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport”.

The move has been criticised in a joint-statement from Athletes for Ukraine and athlete association Global Athlete.

It said the decision shows the IOC “endorses Russia’s brutal war and invasion of Ukraine”.

“The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition, especially the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, will see the Russian state use athletes…