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Military-linked Russians remain in IOC despite athlete prohibitions

Russia’s two members of the International Olympic Committee, Yelena Isinbaeva and Shamil Tarpischev, maintain their positions despite having Russian military connections. This contrasts with bans on Russian athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympics due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
military-linked russians remain ioc despite athlete prohibitions yelena isinbayeva (r) wearing russian military uniform 2015 ceremony where cska athletes doing conscription service special units take oath allegiance moscow nina zotina
Yelena Isinbayeva (R) wearing the Russian military uniform at a 2015 ceremony where CSKA athletes doing conscription service in special military units take an oath of allegiance in Moscow. Photo: Nina Zotina / TASS, via Moscow TImes.
Military-linked Russians remain in IOC despite athlete prohibitions

Two Russian members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Yelena Isinbaeva and Shamil Tarpischev, continue to hold their positions despite having connections to the Russian military, Politico reports. This situation exists alongside bans on Russian athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympics due to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Yelena Isinbaeva, a former pole vault world-record holder, holds the rank of major in the Russian army. She has previously marched in military uniform and attended Russia’s Victory Day parade with President Vladimir Putin in 2017. Shamil Tarpischev, the Russian tennis chief, has expressed support for mobilizing Russian athletes to fight in Ukraine.

The IOC’s rules recommend that athletes and sports officials affiliated with the Russian army not participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics. However, both Isinbaeva and Tarpischev remain IOC members.

Ukrainian officials have objected to this situation. Vadym Hutzait, president of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee, stated,

“We wrote a letter to the IOC asking them to ban all representatives of Russia from the organization,” he said, adding: “As Ukraine’s [National Olympic Committee] president, I want to reiterate that as long as the war is ongoing, not a single Russian should be anywhere, in any sports organization. Or let them come out actively, openly saying that they are against the war.

Meanwhile, the IOC’s Ethics Commission investigated Tarpischev and Isinbaeva’s positions. IOC President Thomas Bach stated that neither official “had contractual links with the Russian military or security agencies or supported the war in Ukraine.”

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