The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in individual sports can participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics as neutrals. This decision comes after the initial ban on athletes from these countries in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the ban has been gradually lifted for many sports, athletes must adhere to specific conditions to compete in Paris.
According to the IOC, individual neutral athletes (AINs) who qualify through existing international federation qualification systems will be eligible for the Paris 2024 Olympics. These athletes, holding Russian or Belarusian passports, will compete without national flags, emblems, or anthems. They are also required to refrain from expressing support for the ongoing conflict.
Support staff accompanying these athletes must comply with the same guidelines. However, no teams from Russia or Belarus will be allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympics, scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11 next year.
The IOC’s decision is based on strict eligibility conditions outlined in recommendations issued on March 28, 2023, for international federations and event organizers. Out of the 4,600 athletes qualified for the Paris Games so far, eight are Russian, and three are Belarusian.
While the IOC has permitted Russian and Belarusian athletes for the Paris Olympics, World Athletics (WA) maintains its ban on athletes from these countries. WA asserts that the ban will persist unless there is a significant change in circumstances. This exclusion extends to all World Athletics Series events and hosting any International or European athletics events.
Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, emphasized the severity of the situation in Ukraine, stating that the deaths and destruction witnessed have solidified his stance on the matter. He underscored the intolerable nature of the situation, affirming that his views will not change anytime soon. World Athletics will continue monitoring the situation, emphasizing the responsibility of international federations to determine athlete eligibility within their respective sports.