Russian, Belarusian athletes will not take part in Paris Olympics opening ceremony

Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be allowed to take part in the traditional parade at the opening ceremony at the Paris Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday.

The opening ceremony on July 26 will see thousands of athletes travel on boats down the River Seine for several miles (kilometers) toward the Eiffel Tower, instead of the normal parade of teams inside a stadium.

The International Olympic Committee said athletes from Russia and Belarus who are approved to compete at the Olympics as neutrals will have a chance only “to experience the event” – likely watching from near the river.

The IOC decision follows the International Paralympic Committee which two weeks ago announced a ban for its Paris opening ceremony on Aug. 28.

Russia and Belarus are barred from team sports at the Olympics because of the war in Ukraine and the IOC has laid out a two-step vetting procedure for individual athletes from those countries to be granted neutral status. Those athletes must first be approved by the governing body of their individual sport and then by an an IOC-appointed review panel.

Neutral athletes must not have publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine, or be affiliated with military or state security agencies. It is unclear if membership of a Russian military sports club, such as CSKA, will be a reason for denying neutral status.

The IOC said Tuesday it expects about 36 neutral athletes with Russian passports and 22 with Belarusian passports to qualify for the Paris Games.


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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