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

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made clear it wants Russians and Belarusians to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics as neutral athletes, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for them to be completely excluded.

Citing a “unifying mission” in wartime, the IOC said that “no athlete should be prevented from participating just because of their passport”.

“A path for athlete participation in competitions under strict conditions should therefore be further explored,” the IOC said in a statement released after a board meeting.

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

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