Retired Canadian Olympians call for Russia, Belarus to be banned from 2024 Paris Games – National

A bunch of 42 retired Canadian Olympians urged the Canadian Olympic Committee to reject the concept of permitting Russians to take part in subsequent yr’s Paris Games except Russia withdraws from Ukraine.

“We condemn latest public statements issued by the COC supporting the `exploration of a pathway’ for Russians and Belarusians to compete as `neutrals’ within the 2024 Paris Olympics,” the Canadians wrote in a press release launched Wednesday.

Opening that door, the athletes mentioned, “sends a message that the COC is not involved with Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.”

Signing the assertion was a who’s-who of Canadian Olympic greats and gold medalists, together with Hayley Wickenheiser (hockey), Jenn Heil and Alex Bilodeau (freestyle snowboarding), Tessa Advantage (skating) and Beckie Scott (cross-nation snowboarding).


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Nations search readability on Olympics ‘neutrality’ for Russia, Belarus as calls for ban develop

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Russian and Belarusian athletes have been largely excluded from worldwide competitors since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine final February. The Worldwide Olympic Committee seeks a pathway again for these athletes to compete with out formally representing their international locations, citing human-rights consultants who argue the athletes mustn’t be discriminated in opposition to solely due to their passports.

“Refusing their participation in worldwide sport isn’t merely a matter of denying athletes a selection to compete due to their passport, it’s a rejection of an illegal and inhumane struggle and a recognition of the position worldwide sports activities performs in geopolitics,” the Canadians wrote.

The COC has walked a wonderful line in staking out a place. Final month, secretary basic David Shoemaker advised athletes from the banned international locations ought to be made to publicly communicate out in opposition to the struggle to acquire the impartial standing they would want to take part.

Canada’s was additionally amongst a gaggle of 35 governments that launched a press release final month saying that, with out readability on a workable neutrality mannequin, “we don’t agree that Russian and Belarusian athletes ought to be allowed again into competitors.”

Each the COC and the governments have stopped in need of stating that Russians mustn’t be allowed.

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Of their assertion, the Canadian Olympians mentioned a requirement for Russians to declare opposition to the struggle is “unfounded and out of contact.”

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“For instance, it’s unlawful in Russia to publicly denounce navy actions overseas, and just about unattainable for excessive-profile athletes to oppose the struggle,” the assertion mentioned.

It additionally used cases in 2018 and 2021 when Russians may compete not below their nation’s flag _ however as a substitute below the titles of “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and “Russian Olympic Committee” due to doping sanctions _ as examples of how “separation of athlete from state is an unattainable activity.”

The letter additionally factors out that the struggle started shortly after final yr’s Winter Games in Beijing, which was highlighted by a excessive-profile assembly between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping earlier than the opening ceremony.

“The Beijing 2022 Games helped set the stage for and dictated the timing of the preliminary invasion, sports activities amenities in Ukraine have been focused by the Russian assaults, and Russian athletes have been elevated to excessive-rating navy positions and utilized in struggle propaganda,” the letter mentioned.

It concluded that “no pathway ought to be thought of” for Russians or Belarusians to compete in Paris till Russia “absolutely withdraws from Ukraine.”

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