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Leave the IOC to hand out medals only to Russians and Belarusians in Paris

Many people in Serbia are still convinced that their football players would have been European champions in 1992. There are even more of those who believe that the basketball players from Serbia and Montenegro were the only team that ever had a chance to beat the US Dream Team at the Olympics in Barcelona, also in 1992.

However, the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro, could not participate in international sports competitions due to the sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations. Needless to say, Russia voted in favour of those sanctions in the Security Council.

Athletes share the fate of the country they represent on the international stage. If their country threatens international peace and if the majority of members of the world community state this, it is excluded from the community, including the sports one. Three decades ago it was Serbia, today it is Russia.

However, the International Olympic Committee acts as if it does not live on this planet. Their bosses make decisions as if they were gods on some modern Olympus, not affected by this world.

The IOC Executive Board recently made a scandalous decision to open the door to the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus at the Olympic Games in Paris next year.

No matter how hard you try, this decision has nothing to do with sports and athletes. It is the grossest negation of everything that international sports represent, particularly the Olympic Movement.

Even if there were no aggression against Ukraine, there should be no place for Russian athletes in the stadiums in Paris next year. Only two months ago, they served their sentence of exclusion from international competitions due to a systematic state doping project.

There are no guarantees that Russia would abandon this monstrous project. Cheating at sports competitions, in which everyone participates – from the top of the state, medical institutions, to athletes, is a deep-rooted Russian model and has been nurtured since the Soviet Union.

Nothing would stop Moscow from doping its athletes at the next Olympics. Russia would present the medals they won as a proof of their (national) superiority over others, and price is of no importance for such a thing, including fraud.

Despite proven state-organised sports crime, the IOC gave Russia a chance to continue on that path.

It is even more difficult for the IOC to ignore the biggest bloodshed since the Second World War, to pretend not to see that for a year Russia has been destroying an independent country, killing among thousands of civilians and Ukrainian top athletes.

The attempts of the IOC and its head Thomas Bach to find conditions under which Russian athletes could be at the Paris Olympics have been pitiable.

How, for example, did they plan to enforce that only those who did not “actively support the war in Ukraine” could compete? Would their statement, or the testimony of two witnesses, be enough, or would the IOC just take the word of the Russian Olympic Committee?

How do they think they can prevent a repeat of the gesture of gymnast Ivan Kuliak or anyone else from the Russian team, to get on the podium with the letter “Z” printed on their jerseys?

Do they really think that Putin would miss the opportunity to promote his criminal aggression against Ukraine in Paris, in front of a global audience of several billion?

Who will prevent the two-time Olympic champion from Tokyo Evgeny Rylov, who participated in a rally in support of Vladimir Putin and the aggression against Ukraine at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium in March last year, from defending his medals in Paris? Needless to say, he wore the letter “Z” on his clothes.

After all, almost half of the 71 medals that Russia won at the last Olympics in Tokyo were won by athletes from CSKA, the club of the Russian army, which has been carrying out illegal aggression against another country for a year, committing war crimes.

The IOC pretends they know nothing about the case of two-time Olympic champion, basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested by Russia and sentenced to nine years in prison just so they could exchange her for one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers.

Russian sports federations, clubs, including the National Olympic Committee, were never, and particularly today, sports associations, but an important part of the state structure and a very effective means of its propaganda.

Every sporting success under the flag of Russia is considered an act of patriotism, and in the conditions of a war invasion, it is treated as heroism on the battlefield. This kind of manipulation has been allowed by the IOC, trampling on every principle of the Olympic Movement they were supposed to be protecting.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wants no Russian athletes at 2024 Olympics, until their country’s aggression against Ukraine stops.

She does not want them, nor their fans, and particularly their country to get any positive image, while they participate in the destruction of another country.

A boycott of the Paris Olympics, advocated by Poland and the Baltic states in addition to Ukraine, is the only effective way for the IOC to change its unreasonable decision and not allow Russia to use the Paris Olympics for its conquest goals.

Maybe the gentlemen from the IOC will stick to their position, but then all the other sports teams should leave them to compete alone in Paris, with Russia and Belarus, and award them with all the Olympic medals. For now, they are well on their way to winning at just such an Olympics in July 2024.

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