The head of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), Suzanne Lyons, supported the idea of admitting Russian and Belarusian athletes to the 2024 Olympics, which will be held in the summer in Paris, if they do not compete under the flags of their countries or in their colors. She stated this in an interview for The Wall Street Journal.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said last week that he wants Russian and Belarusian athletes to be able to compete in the Paris Olympics even if the Russian war in Ukraine continues. At the same time, at the beginning of the year, the IOC called on sports federations to exclude Russians and Belarusians from international competitions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Then the United States supported this ban.
The position of the USOPC has changed, the WSJ notes, the committee has previously criticized Russian athletes, including after the doping scandal at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. The organization's opinion changed after a summit at the IOC headquarters in Switzerland, which was attended by about two dozen of the most senior Olympic officials from different countries. Such steps are necessary to preserve the Olympic ideals of the athletes despite the unwelcome or violent actions of their governments.
“Despite the fact that it leaves a rather bad taste in the mouth, it seems to be really important for movement. We continue to support the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian athletes,” Lyons said.
At the same time, Lyons noted that the IOC sanctions, including the absence of a flag, anthem, colors or any other designations of countries, in 2024 will be more severe than those for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
"The US is supporting the search for a way for athletes who have trained for this all their lives to come back and compete."
In early July, the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, at a meeting with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, confirmed that the IOC would continue to recommend that international federations not invite Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Games. On July 25, it became known that the slogan "Let's open the Games wide" (Ouvrons grand les jeux / Games wide open) became the official motto of the 2024 Summer Olympics. According to the head of the IOC, "this approach will be key to inspire the next generation, allowing even more people in France and around the world to experience the Olympic spirit and values." The competition will be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11, 2024. 329 sets of awards in 32 sports will be played at the Games.