Paris 2024: Russian and Belarusian athletes will not participate in Opening Ceremony, IOC says

Russian and Belarusian athletes will not participate in the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony – the first to be held along a river – scheduled for July 26, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board announced Tuesday.

“AINs (Individual Neutral Athletes) will not participate in the parade of delegations teams during the opening ceremony since they are individual athletes, but an opportunity will be provided to them to experience the event,” James Macleod, IOC Director of Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committees Relations, said at a news conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“This is the same scenario that was used for independent Olympic participants at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 for athletes from the former Yugoslavia.”

A decision on the closing ceremony will be made at a later date.

AINs are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport who have met eligibility requirements for the games. The executive board also has approved a flag and an anthem for the AINs. The anthem has no lyrics.

Medals won by an AIN athlete will not be displayed on a National Olympic Committee medal table. If an AIN athlete wins a medal, an AIN flag will be flown, and the AIN anthem will be played during the victory ceremonies.

Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the IOC announced in December that Russian and Belarusian athletes will only be eligible to compete as individual neutral athletes at this year’s Paris Games.

In order to compete, they must meet eligibility requirements. Teams of Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be considered, while athletes who actively support the war against Ukraine will also be ineligible.

Riverside ceremony

It is expected that nearly 104,000 people will line the Seine for the Opening Ceremony, with a further 220,000 on raised roadways along the six kilometer (nearly four miles) stretch of the river that will host the event, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said earlier this month in an interview with French broadcaster France 2.

The attendance capacity was cut in half due to security reasons, Darmann said. But he added there was no specific terrorist threat targeting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

Earlier this month, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said that Russian and Belarusian Paralympic athletes will not take part in their Opening Ceremony on August 28.

The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics officially start on July 26 and conclude on August 11. The Paralympic Games begin on August 28 and end on September 8.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at