The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will welcome athletes from Russia and Belarus to next year’s event, in accordance with the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the head of the organizing committee told Reuters on Tuesday (12).
Russians and Belarusians who qualify in their sports for the Paris Games will be able to participate as individual neutral athletes in the event from July 26 to August 11, without flags, emblems or anthems, the IOC said on Friday.
“As the organizing committee, we welcome and respect this decision,” said Paris 2024 boss Tony Estanguet.
“We will welcome these athletes to participate within the rules that have been indicated, that is, without flags, without anthems, without officials, without team sports. Therefore, these delegations will be very small, but they will be welcomed by Paris 2024.”
Neutral athletes will only compete in individual sports, while no Russian or Belarusian government or state officials will be invited or accredited to Paris 2024, the IOC said.
Initially, Russians and Belarusians had been banned from competing internationally following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, for which Belarus was used as a base.
In March, however, the IOC issued a first set of recommendations for international sports federations to allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to return, and they have since done so at most events.
Athletes who actively support the war in Ukraine are not eligible, nor are those contracted by the Russian or Belarusian military. (Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk Editing by Christian Radnedge)