Dozens of nations oppose Russia and Belarus' participation in the Olympics

Olympic rings in Paris.
Olympic rings in Paris. Source: SCANPIX / AFP

On Friday, ministers from 35 countries convened online to demand the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Estonia was represented at the meeting by Minister of Culture Piret Hartman (SDE), who said that the countries were in complete agreement on the subject.

The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan, among other prominent sporting nations, were also present.

Hartman told ERR that the aim of the meeting was to discuss whether Russian and Belorussian athletes could compete in the Olympics.

20 countries had spoken in total and the minister said, "All opinions were consistent: Belarus and Russia should not participate in the Olympics." 

A petition is being drafted and should be signed by the end of the week. "We will find out how many sign will sign by the end of next week," Hartman said.

"There is no reason to doubt Estonia's position and we have been very proactive in our communication with both the Baltic and Nordic countries on this matter. Today, I said unequivocally that we do not see any possibility for Russian or Belarusian athletes competing," she continued.

Hartman said she is quite hopeful about the outcome, "I believe the likelihood increases daily. I also spoke with the Estonian Olympic Committee today, and they are working with several Olympic Committees on this; the Baltic and Nordic Olympic Committees have already issued statements on the subject. Clearly, the position is gaining strength," the minister said.

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been largely absent from international sports. However, the International Olympic Committee, led by president Thomas Bach, has recently signaled its desire to bring Russian and Belarusian athletes back into competition for the Paris Olympics.

There are no countries participating in the Olympic Games, but rather athletes from National Olympic Committees (NOCs). At the Olympic Summer Games in Paris in 2024, around 10,500 athletes from 206 NOCs will compete.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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