Sculpture complex in Atlanta’s Centenary Olympic Park. Author: IOC
Few multi-sport events have generated as much controversy and anticipation as the upcoming 33rd. The Olympic Games to be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11, 2024. After International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach announced his presence at the four-year event in the first weeks of 2023 of Russian and Belarusian athletes, whose participation in international competitions has been virtually banned since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, a bitter dispute erupted that called into question such important elements of the Olympic movement as the neutrality of sport, non-discrimination of athletes and the scope of sports diplomacy.
From the very moment when the IOC Presidency and International Federations implemented punitive measures against Russian and Belarusian athletes in February 2022, a meaningful discussion on the “politicization” of sport has flared up on a planetary scale. At some points in its history, the modern Olympic movement, founded by Pierre de Coubertin in the last decade of the 19th century, has agreed to the exclusion of athletes, judges and federations on the simple question of their country of origin. Only in the periods after the armistice of the two world wars or during the apartheid regime in South Africa was a procedure of a similar nature used, which completely contradicted the message of peace, cordiality between peoples and inclusiveness promoted by the Olympic movement. .
These issues were widely discussed at the Olympic Summit convened by the IOC Executive Commission on December 9, 2022, and at successive consultation meetings between the supreme body of the Olympic Movement with International Federations and National Olympic Committees in mid-January 2023. Although they were not free from controversy and conditional geopolitical interests, these meetings emphasized the responsibility of the Olympic Movement to establish peaceful relations between governments in full accordance with the principles of the 1908 Olympic Charter.
The founders of the Olympic movement at a rally before the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens.
The Declaration adopted by the Olympic Summit condemned the cumulative exclusion of a group of athletes from the limits of the eligibility criteria of sports federations and the rules established by the World Anti-Doping Code. In open opposition to the boycott demonstrations that limited participation in previous Olympic Games—at Antwerp in 1920, London in 1948, and Los Angeles in 1984—the document acknowledged the actions of the Olympic Council of Asia to integrate dropout athletes into qualifying processes for the upcoming Olympics.
The gradual return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to high competition in the current Olympic cycle is expected in the status of “neutral athletes”. This condition implies that they will not be able to compete displaying their national emblems and therefore their respective flags and national anthems will not be part of the award ceremonies. Other punitive measures are expected against the Olympic Committees of Russia and Belarus, such as the inability for these countries to host international sporting events, the cancellation of sponsorship of their companies in international federations, or the removal of honorary titles awarded to top sports.
The Olympic torch is part of the sports symbolism associated with the brotherhood of athletes.
These strict conditions of participation have been condemned by those who advocate the complete and indefinite exclusion of Russia and Belarus from the Olympic family, such as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba. Other figures in the sports world, including Suzanne Lyons, President of the US Olympic Committee, defended the rights of Russian athletes and lauded the magnificent athletic traditions of the Soviet heiress in such disciplines as gymnastics, swimming, fencing, and athletics. , chess and tennis. Olympic multi-medal canoeist and president of the Paris 2024 organizing committee, Tony Estanguet, was more cautious, noting the importance case for the successful celebration of a major sporting event.
This situation of rejection and uncertainty is not unique to those who compete according to the Olympic ideals. The so-called “cancellation culture”, which operated with pronounced Russophobic tendencies, affected Russian creators in the same proportion in such areas as literature, performing arts, cinema, pedagogy, musical composition and applied sciences. In this erroneous statement about belittling the intellectual and spiritual trace of the Slavic people in the history of human civilization, they wanted to bury the legacy of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Dmitri Mendeleev and Anton Chekhov.
As recognized by the United Nations General Assembly during its 77th convocation. session Resolutions Sport as a factor in sustainable development, high competition continues to offer opportunities for growth and fraternization. That international sporting events maintain the conciliatory nature that inspired Coubertin to renew the thousand-year-old Olympic tradition will be the greatest victory, beyond the brands and records of its protagonists.
The International Olympic Committee, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, ensures fair play and non-discrimination among athletes at every planetary level. Photos: taken from the IOC website.
Source: Juventud Rebelde