Russian Wrestlers Reject Participation in Paris Olympics as Neutrals


Russia has announced that ten of its wrestlers, who were initially offered spots at the Paris Olympics as neutrals, will refuse to compete. The decision was reached unanimously by the Russian Wrestling Federation, which includes officials, coaches, and athletes.

Russian declines IOC’s proposal at Paris Olympics

The Individual Neutral Athlete program, launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), allowed some athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus to compete during the ongoing war in Ukraine. The IOC had invited ten Russian wrestlers to participate in the Paris Olympics under this program, with nine agreeing to compete and one declining.

The Russian federation objected to the IOC’s choice of which wrestlers to invite. They argued that Russians had qualified for up to 16 spots, not just 10. Six of the invited wrestlers were considered “far from the status of Russian team leaders.” The federation listed the names of top Russian wrestlers who didn’t receive invitations, asserting that the Olympic event would now be devalued.

The refusal of Russian wrestlers affects the overall quality of the wrestling competitions at the Olympics. The federation emphasized that the status of the Olympic Games as the most significant sporting event is now being questioned. Wrestlers from Russia would have added value to the tournament, and their absence may impact the satisfaction of winning the Olympic title.

The IOC had set specific criteria for issuing invitations to Russian and Belarusian athletes: No ties to security services or military. No public support for the war. Invited athletes would compete in neutral uniforms and without their national flag.

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