The National Olympic Committee and the political world considered on Monday that it was inconceivable that Russian and Belarusian athletes would compete in Paris at a time when Ukrainian athletes were dying for their country.
The Olympic Committee and the Czech government took a stand on Monday against the idea of participation under a neutral banner for Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“Russian and Belarusian athletes cannot participate in the Olympics,” the Czech Olympic Committee (COV) said in a statement.
He added that he saw “no reason” to reconsider their banishment from most sports competitions decided after the entry of Russian forces into Ukrainian territory on February 24, 2022.
No boycott of the 2024 Olympics
However, the COV specifies that it will not push Czech athletes to boycott the Games if the path of reintegration under a neutral banner of Russian and Belarusian athletes is chosen by the Olympic movement.
“We will naturally respect the wishes of each athlete if he decides not to participate,” he added in a press release.
The International Olympic Committee proposed, at the end of January, a roadmap to organize the return of banned athletes under a neutral flag, provided that they had “not actively supported the war in Ukraine”.
The initiative was immediately rejected by the Ukrainian authorities, who brandished the threat of a boycott, followed by Poland and Estonia.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala gave them his support on Monday. “I really can’t imagine Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in Paris when Ukrainian athletes are dying defending their country,” he said.
“Under these circumstances, the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympics does not seem to me to be a good idea,” added the head of the Czech government.