Russia targets Paris 2024 Olympics despite sports bans

Two years from the opening of the Paris Olympics, Russia plans for its athletes to live and compete in the French capital, although many remain excluded from upcoming qualifying events due to the war in Ukraine.

Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Tuesday that the country is working to provide its athletes with access to qualifying events and is already planning the Olympic Village in 2024.

Most Olympic sports have suspended athletes from Russia and Belarus since the invasion of Ukraine began in February, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee. However, the IOC did not suspend the Russian Olympic Committee, the body that hires Russian teams for the Games.

“In exactly two years, the Olympics begin in Paris. Despite all the circumstances, the Russian Olympic Committee is a full participant in the Olympic movement,” Pozdnyakov wrote. “We are continuing our systematic preparations for the Games and are also carrying out work to ensure qualification opportunities and an equal presence of our athletes in the Olympic Village and at the venues, their participation in events during the Games.”

Qualifying for some Olympic sports has already started, but others won’t start until next year. If sports federations lift bans on Russian athletes from participating in international events such as Olympic qualifiers, it could lead to boycotts by Ukraine.

The International Judo Federation has allowed the Russian team to continue competing as neutral athletes without a flag or anthem. In response, Ukraine refused to participate when Olympic judo qualifying began last month, not least because it said 11 of the 24 athletes on the Russian team at the event were military.

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Naomi C. Amerson