Russia And Belarus Are Still Banned From The Olympics

The US Olympic and Paralympic chair thinks the ban will be reversed.

According to the Chair of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Susanne Lyons, the International Olympic Committee is trying to figure out “whether there is a pathway” that would allow Russia and Belarus to return to the international sports community. Athletes from the two countries have been barred from IOC competition since Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine. But the President of the IOC Thomas Bach doesn’t seem to be on the same page with Lyons. “It goes without saying that from the very first moment when we said we are in this dilemma, that we are looking for ways out of this dilemma. But this is about it. I cannot report any concrete steps or a deadline.”

Lyons is bullish that Russians and Belarussians would be welcomed back soon. “We know that the IOC is beginning to think about whether there is a pathway back for the Russian athletes. They are beginning to reach out to all their stakeholders, including the NOCs, the International Federations, to get input on that topic, so I don’t think any decisions have been made yet. But I think all of us feel at some point in time the individual athletes should not be the victims of whatever their individual governments, political or other tensions are around the world. So, I think inevitably there will be a desire to see athletes, who happen to reside in Russia, come back and be part of competition.” Russian athletes have been able to compete in various sports globally including the now completed US Open tennis tournament in New York. The National Hockey League has welcomed back most Russian athletes after an off-season that saw speculation that Russian athletes would not be allowed to return. But the International Biathlon Union will continue its ban on Russians and Belarussian athletes.

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Ukrainians attend a rally in central Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, during a protest against the potential escalation of the tension between Russia and Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden are to hold a high-stakes telephone call on Saturday as tensions over a possibility imminent invasion of Ukraine escalated sharply and the U.S. announced plans to evacuate its embassy in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)