IOC flags pathway to Olympic return for Russian, Belarusian athletes despite Ukrainian protests

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made clear it wants Russians and Belarusians to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics as neutral athletes, in defiance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call to exclude them entirely.

Citing a “unifying mission” during a time of war, the IOC said “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport”.

“A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored,” the IOC said in a statement published after an executive board meeting.

Russians and Belarusians would be classed as “neutral athletes” and “in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country”, the IOC said.

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