Russians Excluded From Olympic Opening Ceremony

Belarusian athletes also barred from July ceremony in Paris
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2024 8:01 PM CDT
Russian Athletes Won't Be Part of Paris Opening Ceremony
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks at the opening of the IOC's executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 19, 2024.   (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)

Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be allowed to take part in the opening ceremony at the Paris Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday. The opening ceremony on July 26 will see thousands of athletes travel on boats down the River Seine for several miles toward the Eiffel Tower, instead of the normal parade of teams inside a stadium. The IOC said athletes from Russia and Belarus who are approved to compete at the Olympics as neutrals will have a chance only "to experience the event"—likely watching from near the river, the AP reports.

The IOC has laid out a vetting procedure for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be granted neutral status, with requirements including that they must not have publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine, or be affiliated with military or state security agencies. The IOC said it expects about 36 neutral athletes with Russian passports and 22 with Belarus passports to qualify for the Paris Games. A decision on whether those athletes will be allowed to take part in the Aug. 11 closing ceremony will be taken "at a later stage," the IOC said.

(More 2024 Paris Olympics stories.)

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