Thomas Bach, on January 28. HANNIBAL HANSCHKE (EFE)
"Would you compete in an Olympic Games in which Russian and Belarusian athletes participated?"
The question was the only one in a survey prepared by the athletes commission of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) at the proposal of the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, who wants the sanctions imposed to be lifted at the 2024 Paris Games to Russian and Belarusian athletes after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
The athletes believed in their empowerment, their affirmation as Olympic subjects before the states to ensure that the Olympic Charter —"The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes, in individual or team events, and not between countries"— was imposed on reality, an ideal world above wars and barbarities, above Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.
They got to work.
But the survey never came to be.
Anticipating its results, and taking for granted that the result of the consultation would be favorable to its idea, two weeks ago, the IOC announced that the "consulted Olympic world" (athletes, IOC members, international federations, national Olympic committees) was agreed to allow Russian athletes who did not explicitly support the Ukrainian invasion to participate in the Paris 2024 Games as neutral athletes, without flag or anthems.
"Through Pau Gasol, who is part of the COE athletes commission and also the IOC, Bach brought us the idea of the survey," explains Ignacio Sola, Olympic pole vaulter in Mexico 68 and president of the Spanish commission. of athletes.
“We prepared the survey, an introduction explaining that the Olympic Charter enshrines the right of all athletes to compete as individuals without being held accountable for the actions of their governments, and a single question.
But shortly after, without waiting for the response from the athletes, the IOC already made the proposal to invite the Russians and the Belarusians and we saw that the survey had no more meaning than that of an academic curiosity, which did not contribute anything ”.
The task of convincing the world of the necessity of his decision is proving more difficult than he thought for the IOC president, given the fierceness with which Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, defends sanctions.
<NO1>imposed on Russian sport.<NO>Although Bach has the support of the United States, on his current tour of Europe, and with the same vigor with which he calls for military aid, planes and tanks, the Ukrainian president seeks support for organize a boycott of the Paris Games if Russian athletes are allowed to compete.
No country has so far joined, although Denmark, Poland and the Baltics have already declared their support for Ukraine.
In France, meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron is evasive — “sport cannot be politicized.
Athletes from countries at war have the right to compete in Paris 2024″, he declared”—, the mayoress of Paris has been firm against it.
<NO1>Russians and Belarusians.<NO>”The Russians should continue to be sanctioned for the duration of the war.
It would be indecent for them to parade at the Games if bombs kept falling on Ukraine,” said Anne Hidalgo.
A precedent similar to the sanction of world sport against Russia is that of South Africa, banned from the Games from 1964 to 1992 by decision of the United Nations in 1962 as punishment for its
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