“Ukraine is dying in war, let alone the Olympics… ” Spreading Opposition to Russian Players’ Participation

Voices opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Paris Olympics are spreading around Europe. There are even calls for a massive boycott.

Ukrainian skier Ivan Kovbasnyuk said in an interview after the alpine combined event at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Championships held in Courchevel, France on the 7th (local time), “Ukrainian athletes are dying on the battlefield, let alone compete in the Olympics. “Several of my friends have already died in the war. Even training for the competition was not easy,” he said.

He strongly criticized the IOC last month for leaving open the possibility of Russian and Belarusian athletes qualifying for the Paris Olympics with a ‘neutral’ status if they qualify for the Olympics through the Asian regional qualifiers. “It doesn’t make sense to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at a time when we remain silent on Vladimir Putin’s war crimes,” Kovbasnyuk said.

Opposition to the IOC decision is growing, especially in European countries. The Olympic Committees of Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark sent a joint letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the same day, saying, “It is our position that now is not the time to consider returning them (Russian and Belarusian athletes),” Reuters reported. , and reported by the BBC.

The Nordic Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the Sports Federation released a joint statement saying, “We take this opportunity to reaffirm once again our unwavering support and call for peace towards the Ukrainian people.”

Earlier, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania토토사이트, and Poland also strongly opposed the IOC’s decision. The Latvian Olympic Committee said on the 1st, “As long as the war continues in Ukraine, it is absolutely unacceptable for Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Olympics regardless of what flag they are carrying.”

Poland’s Minister of Sports and Mining, Kamil Bortiničiuk, blunted the possibility of a boycott by up to 40 countries due to Russian athletes’ participation in the Olympics. He said, “We will be able to form a coalition of 40 countries, including the UK, the US, and Canada, to stop the IOC’s plan,” as if having in mind the video conference of the sport ministers of each country scheduled for the 10th. If we boycott the Olympics, it would be a coalition so broad that holding the Olympics would be meaningless.”

Ukraine, a direct victim, is also considering a boycott. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly criticized the event, saying, “(Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in the Olympics) shows that terrorism is tolerated.”

Although the possibility of an actual large-scale boycott is slim, if the voices of opposition continue to spread, it could pour cold water on the Olympic box office. Because of this, the IOC is actively opposing it. The IOC said, “Boycott of the Olympics violates the basic spirit and principles of the Olympics.”

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