Unlike the IOC and the ÖOC, Sports Minister Werner Kogler strongly opposes Russia’s participation in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. When asked this question by the daily newspaper “Der Standard” (online edition), Vice-Chancellor Kogler said, “It is completely unreasonable for Ukrainian athletes to compete against Russian and Belarusian athletes in the fight for medals.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently made statements in favor of the readmission of Russians and Belarusians who have been sanctioned since last year for the war of aggression against Ukraine. Violent protests and boycott threats came from Ukraine, where other countries also joined. On Tuesday, Olympic committees and sports associations from several northern European countries including Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark joined the critics in an open letter to the IOC. For Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, he stressed that if the war continues, Russia’s involvement next year is unthinkable.
The Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) follows the IOC line, which Kogler could not understand. “We fully understand the plight of one or the other Russian or Belarusian athletes: inside – first and foremost, I sympathize with the families of these Ukrainian athletes: inside, on the battlefield or through the Russian, there are said to be about 220 to date. Attacks on civilian infrastructure have had to lose their lives,” he said.
Kogler is also reluctant to condemn the IOC’s threat to boycott Ukraine. Pointing out that the majority of Russian and Belarusian activists are members of the military, Kogler said, “The IOC’s criticism of Ukraine’s boycott considerations should be rejected.” “In Tokyo, 45 of 71 medals were won by army personnel. At the Beijing Winter Games, a third of the participants of the Russian Olympic Committee team served in the army.”