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HomesportsIOC’s stance on Russia could ‘bury Olympic movement’, Putin says

IOC’s stance on Russia could ‘bury Olympic movement’, Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of trying to bury the Olympic movement by imposing rules on Russian athletes for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Last week, the IOC said Russian and Belarusian athletes who qualify in their sport for the Paris Games can take part as neutrals without flags, emblems or anthems.

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Russians and Belarusians had initially been banned from competing internationally following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, for which Belarus has been used as a staging ground.

“If they continue to act this way, they will bury the Olympic movement,” Putin said on Thursday.

While he promised to support Russians competing in Paris, he said his country should ponder whether it should compete if the event is designed to portray Russian sport as “dying” and not give a clear answer if Russian athletes should go to Paris.

“To go or not to go? … The conditions must be closely analysed,” Putin said.

“If they are politically motivated, artificial conditions aimed at cutting off our [political] leaders … and to weaken our team, then the Ministry of Sport and the Russian Olympic Committee should make an informed decision,” he added.

Speaking at his annual year-end news conference, Putin said a further assessment was needed of what the neutral status would mean for the country’s athletes.

“They have been training for years … and that’s why I supported our athletes going to such competitions, but we still need to carefully analyse the conditions the IOC has put forward,” Putin said.

“If the IOC’s artificial conditions are designed to cut off the best Russian athletes and portray at the Olympics that Russian sport is dying, then you need to decide whether to go there at all,” Putin said.

IOC move in ‘complete contradiction’ of Olympic spirit

The IOC said neutral athletes will compete only in individual sports and no teams for the two countries will be allowed. Athletes who actively support the war in Ukraine are not eligible, nor are those contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military.

Putin accused sports officials of acting “under the pressure of Western elites”.

Russia has vigorously protested against the restrictions on its athletes, arguing that they go against the spirit of the games.

“Everything that international officials do in relation to Russian sports is a complete contradiction and distortion of the ideas of Pierre de Coubertin,” Putin said, referring to the founder of the Olympic movement.

Russian athletes have taken part in successive Olympics without their flag or anthem in the wake of major doping scandals.

During the Cold War, the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Soviet Union and its allies retaliated with a boycott of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Source: News Agencies

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