IOC gives 14 Russians and 11 Belarusians neutral status for Paris Olympics

Associated Press

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved 14 athletes from Russia and 11 Belarusians with neutral status to compete at the Paris Olympics, in a first list from some sports published Saturday.

Five sports, though not tennis, swimming or judo, were assessed by an International Olympic Committee vetting panel in the first round of decisions.

Cycling, gymnastics, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling were judged and lists of athletes from other Olympic sports are likely to follow within days.

Athletes approved on Saturday include the defending Olympic champion in men’s trampoline, Ivan Litvinovich from Belarus. No athletes were approved in taekwondo.

Russia and Belarus are banned from team sports at the Paris Olympics because of the military invasion of Ukraine.

Individual athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports have been allowed to compete as neutrals in qualifying events in most other sports, then apply for entry to the Olympics.

Ukrainian athletes and officials urged IOC and sports leaders to impose a blanket ban on all Russians. Track and field did that.

The two-stage vetting process for neutral status goes through sports governing bodies, then the IOC panel, before appeals are possible at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Paris Olympics open on July 26th.