The 2024 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies In Paris Will Not Include Russia Or Belarus

( – When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, it subjected itself to a firestorm of sanctions, many of which are still in place today. One of those sanctions has applied to one of the world’s most competitive displays of athleticism—the Olympics. With the summer event set to kick off on July 26, two countries will be noticeably missing: Russia and Belarus.

In a statement on March 19, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) noted that while Russian and Belarusian teams are not allowed, individual athletes from the countries are allowed to participate. Currently, there are 12 athletes with Russian passports, and seven with Belarusian passports, classified as Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs), slated to appear. Those numbers are expected to increase to 36 and 22, respectively, with a maximum of 54 and 28, respectively. Further, the notes indicate that since they are AINs, there will be no display of a country’s flag, but rather a neutral design, and a special anthem with no lyrics has been created to represent the AINs.

The IOC has established a three-person panel to evaluate each athlete’s eligibility and decide whether to invite them to the Olympics. One of the criteria is that the athletes cannot be in support of the Russo-Ukraine war. Athletes and support personnel who are contracted to either of the countries’ military or national security agencies will not be allowed to participate. They will also need to meet the other criteria established for all athletes, including the anti-doping requirements. The list of approved AINs will be published after the invitations are sent out.

The AINs will not be participating in the parade of delegations during the opening ceremony, but they will have the opportunity to “experience the event.” It’s not clear yet whether the individuals will be allowed to be part of the closing ceremonies, either. A determination to that effect will be made at a later date.

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