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IOC hints at punishing Ukrainian athletes for boycotting Olympics

Thursday, 9 February 2023, 20:50
IOC hints at punishing Ukrainian athletes for boycotting Olympics

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has reacted quite harshly to Ukraine's intentions to boycott the 2024 Olympic Games in France. He even hinted at the possible punishment for Ukrainian athletes.

Source: Bach's letter to Vadym Huttsait, President of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee, dated 31 January, which was published on Twitter by German journalist Hajo Seppelt

Details: According to the information, Bach writes in response to Huttsait’s letter dated 26 January, in which he says that the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine is considering boycotting the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes take part in them.


Quote from Bach: "Threatening a boycott of the Olympic Games which, as you inform me, the NOC of Ukraine is currently considering, goes against the fundamentals of the Olympic Movement and the principles we stand for, in this respect, the NOC of Ukraine certainly does not enjoy the support or solidarity of the vast majority of stakeholders of the Olympic Movement. And as history has shown, previously boycotts did not achieve their political ends and only served to punish the athletes of the boycotting NOCs."

Details: Bach noted that although the final decision on the admission or non-admission of Russians and Belarusians to the Olympic Games has not yet been made, Ukraine has already sent out its position to other states, which puts pressure on them.

At the same time, the IOC president claims that the overwhelming majority of countries perceived this position as "extremely regrettable".


Bach stressed that the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Olympic Games would be discrimination against them, and this does not comply with the principles of the International Olympic Movement. He added that the UN Human Rights Council also spoke out against such a ban.

The IOC president also called Ukraine's statements that the International Olympic Committee supports war, murder and destruction false. "Such statements cannot be the basis for any constructive discussion," Bach said.


  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian leaders call on the international community to prevent the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, as their countries are participating in an armed attack on Ukraine.
  • Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, is willing to "explore the possibility" of allowing athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in international sports, even though this could lead to a boycott of the competition by Ukraine. He suggested that Russians and Belarusians should perform under a neutral flag.

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