Last Updated on January 31, 2023
A Ukrainian government official lambasted the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the sports body overseeing the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Mykhaylo Podolyak, a presidential aide to Volodymyr Zelensky made the derogatory comments Monday after Olympic officials began considering allowing Russians to compete in the upcoming Olympics.
“IOC is a promoter of war, murder & destruction,” Podolyak wrote in a tweet. The head of Zelensky’s office went on to suggest the IOC “watches with pleasure” as Russia destroys Ukraine and wants to give Russia “a platform to promote genocide” to encourage “further killings.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky made similar disparaging comments about the IOC in a letter published Saturday. Zelensky claimed the IOC is working “to open sports to the propaganda influence of the terrorist state.” He also suggested, should Russia be allowed to compete in the Olympics, the IOC is proclaiming “that the world allegedly agrees to make concessions to the aggressor.”
The Ukrainian pushback on the IOC comes after it was announced the IOC was searching for a “pathway” to enable Russians to compete in the Olympics, even just as neutral, unaffiliated with their country, athletes.
Zelensky urged France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, to join him in fighting back against the Russians being able to compete in Paris’ 2024 games, Yahoo reported. “We must be sure that Russia will not be able to use it (the Olympics) or any other international sporting event to promote aggression or its state chauvinism,” he told Macron.
The IOC slammed the Ukrainian government’s negative comments surrounding the issue. “The IOC rejects in the strongest possible terms this and other defamatory statements. They cannot serve as a basis for any constructive discussion,” the IOC told Reuters on Monday.
The Ukrainian-led complaints come despite the IOC announcing “solidarity with Ukraine” on Jan. 25 and how no “Russian and Belarusian Government or State official should be invited to or accredited for any international sports event or meeting.”
However, the IOC clarified, “No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport. A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored.”
Russian Olympic athletes would not be allowed to “represent their state or any other organisation in their country” but potentially could compete, as neutral athletes.
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.