IOC invites Russians to compete as "neutral" athletes

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Summer Games in Paris under certain conditions. Individual athletes are to be allowed to compete with "neutral" status and without anthems or flags. In addition, they must not be members of the military or have been known to support the War in Ukraine. Criticism abounds in the commentaries.

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Seznam Zprávy (CZ) /

Excuse me?

For Seznam Zprávy the International Olympic Committee's reasoning is flawed:

“No doubt even the Russians themselves can't believe what a useful idiot the heavens keep sending them in the form of IOC President Thomas Bach. His credo is well known: 'We do not punish or sanction athletes for the acts of their officials or government.' Excuse me? In Russia, athletes are a social opiate. They serve as self-promotion for the totalitarian regime. Athletes are a tool for whipping up nationalist passions. ... The Russians will unfortunately reach the right conclusion about the Olympic invitation: 'They are gradually bringing us back.' Only a boycott could end this embarrassment.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Committee untenable in its current form

Participation in these and future Olympic Games under such conditions is indefensible, Iltalehti insists:

“The IOC's decision leaves the Finnish state and the Finnish Olympic Committee no choice. Finnish representatives and athletes will have to stay away from the Olympic Games in Paris - and from the next Winter Olympics too - if the Russians are allowed to participate. Any other solution would be wrong and morally indefensible. ... If the boycott leads to the dissolution of the Olympic movement, the IOC in its current corrupt form will end up on the rubbish heap of history. The noble values of sport and human rights are far more important than the IOC, which is known for sympathising with Russia.”

Iswestija (RU) /

Let the athletes decide

Russian athletes who want to participate should not be punished, Izvestia stresses:

“The most pressing question in Russian sport right now is: 'What should we do?' Of course, opinions may vary from 'we mustn't allow ourselves to be humiliated' to 'we mustn't destroy the Olympic dreams of those who have worked their whole lives for them'. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. ... In a situation like this, it is definitely not appropriate for the state to ban athletes from travelling to Paris under threat of cancelling their scholarships, salaries or other sanctions. We should not be like the other side, we should let the athletes decide their own fate.”