IOC, still no decision on Russians (and Belarus) for Paris 2024

Less than eight months before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (26 July), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not yet taken a decision on the participation of Russian (and Belarusian) athletes and apparently does not seem to know when it will do so.

In fact, the IOC has just opened a dangerous floodgate by declaring that it could 'harass' the athletes during the Paris Olympics. The person responsible for shedding some light on the situation was a very authoritative voice, Mark Adams, the Olympic body's director of communications.

"We have already said that we will make a decision when the time is right and we are going to take the time to do that. And obviously, at some point we will have to give clarity to the athletes as to whether or not they will be taking part in the Games," he said.

However, the issue is still stuck without the IOC daring to announce what will happen. "I can't give a deadline (for announcing a decision), the situation is constantly changing and we will let you know when it will be made," Adams insisted.

In any case, all indications are that if Russians (and Belarusians) are admitted (as neutrals and without a flag and anthem), the athletes will not participate on an equal footing, in their own words, as they will be 'watched'. "I would also like to point out that for those athletes who are checked by the federations (to verify compliance with the criteria), we will also make the appropriate requests and collect information," he said.

And he issued a curious warning. "This (information-gathering) process will continue right up to the Olympic Games and possibly during the Games," Adams added in Paris at the press conference following the first day of the IOC Executive Board meetings.

The fact is that the months go by and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel, while the athletes do not know whether they should prepare for the big event in Paris or whether they will have to choose other goals. If the IOC believes that the circumstances are not right for the Russians to participate, it should also have the courage to say so instead of beating around the bush.

At the last two Olympic Games, Russian athletes represented the Russian Olympic Committee, not Russia. At the postponed 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, they finished fifth on the medals table with 71 (20 gold, 28 silver and 23 bronze), and at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, they finished ninth with 32 (six gold, 12 silver and 14 bronze).