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Russian athletes’ social networks and use of Z-symbols will be checked if they are admitted to the Olympics, says IOC

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The Insider sent a request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to determine the criteria to be used in the event athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to take part in the Olympic Games.

According to previous reports, the IOC Executive Board recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus who do not support the war against Ukraine be allowed to participate in the Olympics, likely under a neutral flag. An official decision on the matter will be made later.

The Executive Board’s statement also did not concern the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Summer Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 and the Winter Olympic Games in Italy’s Milan and Cortina in 2026. Both matters will be ruled upon at a later date:

“The IOC EB confirmed that these recommendations do not concern the participation of athletes and their support personnel with a Russian or Belarusian passport at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 or the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. The IOC will take this decision at the appropriate time, at its full discretion, and without being bound by the results of previous Olympic qualification competitions.”

The IOC responsed to The Insider’s request, suggesting that the athletes’ potential admission should be determined by an commission reviewing their public activities and social networks:

“All relevant circumstances, in particular public statements, including those made on social media; participation in pro-war demonstrations or events; and the displaying of any symbol supporting the war in Ukraine, for example, the ‘Z’ symbol, have to be taken into consideration.
In order to ensure a harmonised interpretation of these criteria, the International Federations [IFs] should consider creating a single independent panel under the umbrella of the IF associations (ASOIF, AIOWF, ARISF) to take the decisions.”

The IOC proposed to admit Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Olympics in late January, suggesting that those who comply with anti-doping rules and do not support Russian aggression against Ukraine be allowed to compete. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky opposed the idea, saying that Russian athletes’ participation in the upcoming Olympics in Paris would be a “manifestation of violence.”

Cover image: Russian athletes, such as swimmer Evgeny Rylov (second to left) at a rally on the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea. Photo: Alexander Vilf / TASS.

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