"Disrespect for those who were killed": Russia is not wanted at the 2024 Olympics
The newly elected president of the Latvian National Olympic Committee (LOK), Janis Buks, has confirmed that his organization opposes Russian and Belarusian athletes at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, insisting that "a neutral flag in no way changes the status of aggressor countries." Bux succeeded Georges Tickmers as head of LOK after defeating Gunta Vlasenko and Andris Feldmanis in last month's presidential election.
Tikmers has been a vocal critic of athletes from Russia and Belarus competing on the world stage while war rages in Ukraine, and has even said previously that his country would boycott Paris 2024 if Russians were allowed to compete in the Games.
Buks told Latvian Radio that he is to speak with Ukrainian Sports Minister and NOC President Vadim Gutsait to determine a joint position, but emphasized that he is against Russian and Belarusian athletes competing while the war continues.
"As long as Russian troops are at war in Ukraine, my personal opinion is that Russia and Belarus cannot participate in the Olympics. It would be an absolute disrespect to those who have been killed, who have been driven from their homes," Brooks was quoted as saying by insidethegames.biz.
Under the terms of IOC neutrality, athletes from Russia and Belarus are not allowed to compete under their country's flag and anthem, nor are they allowed to wear their national uniforms. Moscow has called the IOC criteria discriminatory, while the Bucs do not believe neutrality can be achieved.
"A neutral flag does not change the status of aggressor countries in any way, because no athlete can prepare for the Olympics without the support of the country. Sports and politics definitely go hand in hand in Russia," Bux added.