PACE President Opposes Russian and Belarusian Athletes in 2024 Olympics

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.20 - 2024 2:20 PM CET

Photo: Lurii Osadchi /
Photo: Lurii Osadchi /
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe opposes the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Theodoros Roussopoulos, expressed opposition to allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, even under a neutral flag.

"Any victory of these athletes, even under a neutral flag, can be celebrated and used as a tool of propaganda, creating a narrative of acceptance and normalization that downplays the seriousness of the actions of the Russian and Belarusian governments," Roussopoulos said in a statement.

He reminded that in 2023 the PACE adopted a resolution opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games in Paris.

"Why? Because their participation will be an insult to Ukrainian athletes, several of whom died because of the war, and most of whom are unable to train properly due to the destruction of the sports infrastructure," Rousopoulos explained.

He expressed regret that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided not to heed PACE's call, but at the same time called for the strict application of the IOC's criteria for admitting athletes from the Russian Federation to the Olympics. He also emphasized the need to ensure that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be used as a propaganda tool.

Olympic Ideals

According to Rousopoulos, adhering to these measures is the best way to uphold the Olympic movement's long-standing ideals of peace and equality.

"Can we condemn the Russian Federation for bombing the civilian population of Ukraine, kidnapping children, torturing prisoners, committing mass murders, and then applauding its athletes? Knowing that many of these athletes are actually serving in the Russian army, and the vast majority of them receive a state salary? This is the spirit of Olympism?"the PACE President asked rhetorically.

Earlier, the Sejm of Latvia passed amendments to the Law on Sports in the final reading. These stipulate that the country's national teams will be prohibited from competing against the national teams of Russia or Belarus, whether they participate under their own flag or in a neutral status.

It should be noted that the Baltic countries have urged that citizens of the Russian Federation and Belarus be completely barred from the Olympics.