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Canadian Olympians push to oppose Russians in Paris


A group of 42 retired Canadian Olympians have urged the Canadian Olympic Committee to reject the idea of ​​allowing Russians to compete in the Paris Games next year unless Russia pulls out of Ukraine.

“We condemn recent public statements by the COC supporting ‘the exploration of a pathway’ for Russians and Belarusians to compete as ‘neutrals’ at the 2024 Paris Olympics,” the Canadians wrote in a statement released. Wednesday.

According to the athletes, opening this door “sends the message that the COC is no longer concerned about Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine”.

The statement was signed by a who’s-who of Canadian Olympic greats and gold medalists, including Hayley Wickenheiser (hockey), Jenn Heil and Alex Bilodeau (freestyle skiing), Tessa Virtue (skating) and Beckie Scott (cross-country skiing). ).

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been largely excluded from international competition since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February. The International Olympic Committee is seeking a path back so these athletes can compete without officially representing their country, citing human rights experts who argue that athletes should not be discriminated against solely because of their passports.

“To deny their participation in international sport is not simply a matter of denying athletes the choice to compete because of their passports, it is a rejection of illegal and inhumane warfare and a recognition of the role that international sport plays in geopolitics,” the Canadians wrote. .

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