Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says she does not want a Russian delegation at the 2024 Olympics while the war continues in Ukraine.
Hidalgo added that she did not believe the “neutral” banner which Russians may be allowed to compete under existed.
This marks a change in opinion from comments by Hidalgo last month when she came out in support of the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who said they were exploring options for Russian athletes to participate under a neutral banner.
In an interview with France Info today Hidalgo said: “As long as Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine, I don’t want there to be a Russian delegation at the Paris 2024 Games.
“I would find that indecent.
“It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation come to Paris, while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine.”
Hidalgo also claimed that the neutral banner “does not really exist”, but said it was important to establish a distinction with “dissident Russians who want to march under a banner of refugees” and who do not “support Vladimir Putin in his aggression”, as reported by L’Equipe.
Minister of Youth and Sports in Ukraine Vadym Guttsait warned the nation was considering a boycott of Paris 2024 if Russia and Belarus were present, although the IOAlso today the Olympic and Paralympic committees from five Nordic countries – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, wrote to the IOC saying they opposed any presence of Russians and Belarusians at Paris 2024.
“The situation with the war in Ukraine has not changed,” the countries wrote, as reported by Russia’s official state news agency TASS.
“Therefore, we firmly stand on our position: not to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to participate in international sports competitions.
“Now is not the time to think about their return, this is our position.”
The nations added, as reported by L’Equipe: “We, the Nordic Olympic and Paralympic Committees and the sports confederations, take this opportunity to reaffirm once again our unwavering support for the Ukrainian people and the demand for peace.”
Meanwhile the vice-chancellor and Minister of Sports of Austria Werner Kogler added his name to those against Russian and Belarusian athletes participating at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
As reported by Der Standard, Kogler said: “It is simply unacceptable for Ukrainian athletes to compete with Russian and Belarusian athletes in the fight for medals.”
Kogler added that “Russia’s flagrant violation of international law” should “entail consequences and sanctions in all areas.”
Responding to Hidalgo’s comments the IOC told insidethegames: “To clarify, there are no plans for a Russian or Belarusian delegation or the flags of these countries at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“The only option that could be considered are individual, neutral athletes like we have seen last year at the French Open in tennis and recently again at the Australian Open in tennis and in other professional sports.”
insidethegames has also Paris 2024 for a response to Hidalgo’s comments.