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Russian Olympic chief slams IOC’s 'humiliating' neutral-status conditions

Stanislav Pozdnyakov stressed that "there are athletes for whom dignity and honor are more important" than such conditions

MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. The terms the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has laid down for the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris this summer are an embarrassment, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said on Friday.

"The athletes, who opted for neutral participation, are all well aware of these humiliating conditions," ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in an interview with Russia’s Sport-Express daily. "On the other hand, athletes trained hard preparing [for the Olympics] for many years. They are afraid of losing all the fruits of their years of work."

"But there are athletes for whom dignity and honor are more important than those humiliating conditions [from the IOC]," Pozdnyakov said. "Personally, I side with those who put honor and dignity above all else."

IOC’s regulations against Russia

The International Olympic Committee Executive Board convened for a meeting at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 19-20 and following the opening day it decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in the Parade of Athletes and also exclude them from the 2024 Olympics overall medal standings.

The IOC, however, ruled that Russian athletes, cleared to participate in the upcoming Olympics, would not have to sign anything denouncing their country’s special military operation in Ukraine.

On October 12, 2023, the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) until further notice after the Russian organization included the Olympic councils of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions as its members.

The Swiss-based CAS registered on November 6, 2023 an appeal from the ROC against the IOC’s decision on the Russian governing Olympic body’s suspension.

The suspension means that the ROC cannot act as a national Olympic committee or receive financing from the Olympic movement. The IOC however reserved the right to clear Russian athletes to take part in the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 as neutrals. Later, IOC President Thomas Bach said that Russian athletes should have no affiliation with the ROC if they want to compete at the Olympic Games.