The ban on the participation of Russian athletes in international competitions is an example of the use of the Olympic Games as a tool of ethnic discrimination. Russian President Vladimir Putin talks about this stated at the opening of the “Russia – a Sports Power” forum in Perm.
“Thanks to some leaders of the modern International Olympic Committee, we learned that an invitation to the Games is not an unconditional right of the best athletes, but a kind of privilege and it can be earned not by sports results, but by some political gestures that have nothing to do with sports at all, and that the Games themselves can be used as a tool of political pressure against people who have nothing to do with politics, and as gross and, in fact, racist, ethnic discrimination,” he said. Putin also noted that Russia supports those athletes who, “due to restrictions on rights and freedoms,” are forced to miss international competitions.
As Putin noted, the Olympic Charter, according to some IOC representatives, is already outdated and has lost its universal character. “Some sports officials have arrogated to themselves the right to determine to whom it applies – this Olympic Charter – and to whom it does not. Such approaches contradict the very nature of sport,” he emphasized.
Russian sport under sanctions
After the start of the special operation, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to compete, but later announced a easing of measures. Athletes from the Russian Federation and Belarus will be able to participate in international competitions under a neutral flag. The initial restrictions will remain in place for those athletes who compete in team sports, as well as for those who support the official position of the Russian and Belarusian authorities on Ukraine.
The President expressed confidence that there are values that cannot be betrayed, canceled or sold. “One of them is, of course, sports,” he emphasized, noting that Moscow is ready to interact with those countries that also value the values of sports.
At the same time, Putin recalled that sport is one of the most important priorities. According to him, the number of sporting events at different levels with a large prize fund in Russia will increase manifold. The head of state added that Russia is also open to all modern sports disciplines, including e-sports. This is confirmed by the “Future Games”, which will be held in Russia for the first time in February 2024.
The Games of the Future combine physical and digital competition and are divided into five categories: sport, tactics, strategy, technology and speed. In total, the program includes 21 disciplines. The competition will take place from February 23 to March 2, 2024 in Kazan. They have international status. It is expected that about 2,000 athletes in 256 teams will take part in the Games. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko reported that 160 teams from 22 countries, including China, Latvia, Brazil, etc., took part in the qualifying competitions for the tournament.