IOC declines to give Russia and Belarus invitations to Paris Olympics Loop Jamaica

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russia and Belarus will not get a formal invitation to the 2024 Paris Olympics when more than 200 national teams receive their traditional invites later this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Thursday.

It is an IOC tradition exactly one year before a Summer Games or Winter Games opens to invite all the national teams worldwide to the event.

Despite the protocol move, some Russian and Belarusian athletes could still compete in Paris — despite their countries’ war on Ukraine — without their national teams being invited.

The IOC said Thursday that 203 eligible national Olympic committees (NOCs) will be sent their invitations to Paris on July 26.

“For the reasons given, this will exclude the NOCs of Russia and Belarus, plus the NOC of Guatemala, which is currently suspended,” the Olympic body said in a statement.

The president of the Belarus NOC is Viktor Lukashenko, the son of state leader Alexander Lukashenko. He followed his father in the Olympic post.

The IOC urged international sports bodies last year to block and isolate athletes, officials and host cities from Russia and Belarus within days of the war starting 17 months ago.

This year, as the next Olympics approach, the IOC has pushed those sports bodies to try to let some Russians and Belarusians evaluated as neutral individuals to compete in qualifying events for Paris.

The IOC has consistently said it can choose not to invite Russia and Belarus at all to what is its own event.

“The IOC will take this decision at the appropriate time, at its full discretion, and without being bound by the results of previous Olympic qualification competitions,” it said Thursday.

Guatemala is currently suspended from the Olympic movement because of alleged government interference with the independence of the NOC there.