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Russian athletes should be banned from 2024 Olympics, Paris Mayor says

Paris Mayor
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Photo by Inès Dieleman.
Russian athletes should be banned from 2024 Olympics, Paris Mayor says

The Russian team should not be allowed to take part in the Olympic Games in France next year if Russia continues its war against Ukraine, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on 7 February 2023.

“It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation that comes to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine,” Hidalgo said in her interview with the French media France Info.

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Although Hidalgo stated that the final decision should be made by the International Olympic Committee, she confessed that she wished all Russian athletes were banned until the Russian aggression against Ukraine stopped.

Previously Hidalgo claimed that Russian athletes should participate in the Olympics under a neutral flag. Hidalgo’s comments followed the promise made by Ukraine’s sports minister last week to boycott the Olympic Games and urge other countries to join Ukraine if Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate.

Allowing Russian athletes to compete, the Olympic Committee is “willing to trample on the graves”, Ukrainian MFA said

Paris Mayor said that only those Russian athletes should be allowed to take part in the Olympics who do not support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Such athletes must compete in Paris “under a refugee banner,” Anne Hidalgo added. Hidlalgo never mentioned Belarusian athletes.

Although there have been no threats to boycott the 2024 Olympic Games from other countries, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Denmark have officially opposed an International Olympic Committee’s plan to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Olympics as “neutral athletes” without flags or anthems.

“We stand firm in our position, not to open for Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international sports participation,” the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, and Icelandic committees announced in a joint statement.

Poland’s sports minister, Kamil Bortniczuk, said last week that up to 40 countries may refuse to take part in the Olympic Games in Paris if Russia and Belarus were allowed to compete in the Olympics, France 24 reported.

Estonia’s sports minister claimed that Estonia would consider joining Ukraine and boycotting the 2024 Olympics. The Czech Olympic Committee urged the International Olympic Committee to ban Russian athletes, but stated that the Czech Republic would not boycott the Olympic Games regardless the decision on the Russian and Belarusian ban.

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