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Decision to suspend Russian athletes from int’l competition ‘vile affair’ — Medvedev

According to the politician, Russian athletes "devoted their lives, practiced hard and eventually were deprived of this payoff the 2024 Olympics"

MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Stripping Russian athletes of the joy of taking part in Olympics celebrations is a ‘vile affair’ that characterizes international sports organizations’ attitude towards Russia, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday in an interview with Russian media, including TASS.

According to Medvedev, Russian athletes "devoted their lives, practiced hard and eventually were deprived of this payoff [the 2024 Olympics]."

"This is an absolutely vile affair portraying the prevailing sentiments in the International Olympic Committee [IOC] and other international sports structures," he said.

"Global sports is in crisis," Medvedev continued. "Today, sports is about business, politics and in some cases, even crime. We need to take this into account when deciding about participating in certain sports events."

The high-ranking security official noted that the sports was being politicized well before the country’s special military operation in Ukraine.

"No one is completely clean and no one says that there were no doping issues previously," Medvedev said. "But I believe that the amount of doping abuse cases was certainly comparable to what was reported among athletes in other countries."

"However, it was us [Russia] who was dragged through the mud first, since it was part of a political agenda," he added.

In this situation, Medvedev said, "You want to slam the door and say, ‘Well, live by your own rules’, and try coming up with something new on your own. But it’s hard."

On December 8, 2023, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed Russians and Belarusians to compete in the Olympic Games in Paris under a neutral status. The IOC reported that athletes from Russia and Belarus would not be allowed to participate in any team events.

Participation in the Olympics will also be denied to those who actively support hostilities. Individuals associated with the army or national security organizations will not be allowed to compete in the Olympics. Officials will not be accredited to the competition. The display of official symbols of Russia and Belarus will be prohibited.

Paris, known as the "City of Light," is scheduled to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games between July 26 and August 11, 2024.

IOC sanctions against Russia, Belarus

On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.

Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February 2022, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

In late March, 2023, the IOC recommended to permit individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in international sports tournaments, but only under certain conditions. Specifically, athletes from the two countries should not be "actively supporting" Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and must compete under a neutral status. Russia and Belarus were also banned from participating in international team events.

On July 26, 2023, the IOC extended invitations to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris to 203 National Olympic Committees. Russia and Belarus did not receive invitations. The IOC explained later that there was no deadline regarding the issue of Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation.