MEP Michaela Šojdrová Launches Petition Against Unconditional Participation of Russian and Belarusian Athletes in the Summer Olympics
As the world eagerly anticipates the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, a growing controversy surrounding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes has taken center stage. MEP Michaela Šojdrová, a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), has initiated a public petition aimed at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to demand that only those athletes who unequivocally condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
The 2024 Summer Olympics are set to be a celebration of international sportsmanship and peace, a tradition rooted in ancient history. However, with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict ongoing just two thousand kilometers from Paris, MEP Šojdrová believes that allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate without stringent conditions would contradict the Olympic spirit.
MEP Michaela Šojdrová
“Despite our numerous efforts, it was clear that the IOC would not ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Olympic Games. Instead, it has introduced the principle of individual athletes competing under a neutral flag. The white flag belongs to the battlefield, not at the Olympic Games,” remarked Michaela Šojdrová.
The MEP further emphasized that the current state of affairs is insufficient, given the gravity of the situation. “It is unacceptable to celebrate and cheer for Russian athletes while their government is responsible for deporting thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia for adoption and re-education. Moreover, around 70% of Russian athletes are soldiers,” she added.
Šojdrová also raised concerns about the potential misuse of the Olympics by Russia for political propaganda. “Allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Olympics under a so-called neutral flag would only serve as a vehicle for spreading the Kremlin’s war propaganda. Their participation would undermine the Olympic values and overshadow the achievements of other athletes.”
In an attempt to address these concerns, MEP Šojdrová and a group of fellow members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the IOC President, urging the introduction of a statutory declaration that these athletes must sign, denouncing the aggression in Ukraine. Such declarations have already been introduced by several countries and National Olympic committees.
However, with no response from the IOC President, Ms. Šojdrová and MEP Ivan Štefanec have launched a public petition to garner support ahead of the 141st IOC Session scheduled for October 15-17th in Mumbai. The petition calls for the introduction of stringent conditions for the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The petition can be accessed and signed here: https://chng.it/H9xcFHjFZg
As the debate intensifies, MEP Michaela Šojdrová’s initiative seeks to ensure that the Olympic Games remain a symbol of peace, unity, and shared values, even in times of political turmoil.