History of Olympic Games boycotts. Why Russia must be banned from Paris Games

The International Olympic Committee plans to allow Russians to participate in the 2024 Olympics. This means that the organization will turn a blind eye to the genocide committed by the Russian army in Ukraine. It would also mean that the Committee would ignore that the majority of Russian athletes support Putin’s aggressive policies.

If the IOC does allow Russians and Belarusians to perform, probably Ukraine will boycott the Olympics and call on other countries to do so, said President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, Vadym Huttsait. 

The Minister of Sports of Poland said that about 40 countries may oppose the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in the Olympics.

A possible boycott of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris is far from the first case when countries refuse to participate. Therefore, let’s consider the loudest cases of such protests.

“RussiaVsWorld” collected the loudest cases of such protests.

Antwerp 1920 and Paris 1924

The world was just beginning to recover from the horrors of the First World War. Therefore, athletes from Germany, which was punished for the outbreak of the First World War, did not participate in both tournaments. Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria also did not have the right to participate in the Games in Antwerp, because they were allies of the Nazis.

By the way, this example can be a solid argument why Russians and Belarusians must not participate in the 2024 Olympics – because Russia waged an unprovoked war against Ukraine and Belarus supported Moscow.

In general, there were no Russian and Soviet athletes at the Olympic Games until 1952.

Berlin 1936

Many countries demanded that the International Olympic Committee move the competition from Nazi Germany. But the leadership of the committee admired Adolf Hitler. As a result, only Spain and Lithuania boycotted the Olympics for political reasons.

London 1948

In the first Olympic Games after World War II, the Olympic Committee also did not want to see Germany as one of its allies in the war. Therefore, Germany, Japan and Bulgaria were not invited to the Olympics.

Helsinki 1952

The Republic of China (Taiwan) refused to participate in the Olympics in protest against the decision of the IOC to admit the team of the communist People’s Republic of China to the Games.

Melbourne 1956

The 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne literally became a mirror of the international political situation. Teams from the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland decided to boycott the Games after the suppression of the uprising in Hungary with the help of Soviet forces.

Moscow 1980

The events of 1980 in Moscow became the apogee of political protest at the Olympics. The Games in the capital of the Soviet Union coincided with the height of the Cold War between the USSR and the USA. The official reason for the numerous boycotts was the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops. In total, 64 different countries boycotted the 1980 Games.

Los Angeles 1984

Four years later, the USSR decided to take revenge on the USA. The Games were boycotted by all socialist bloc countries (except Romania, Yugoslavia and China).

As we can see, the IOC has repeatedly not allowed aggressors to compete. And when IOC officials were afraid to take a principled position, countries were not afraid to ignore the Olympics. 

The same could happen with the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Because Russia will try to legalize the genocide in Ukraine and spread its propaganda through athletes to an audience of billions. And those who will help her in this, sooner or later will be responsible for it.

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