Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk asks IOC to ban Russia from 2024 Olympics: 'Medals of blood, deaths and tears'
Ukrainian boxer and unified heavyweight chamopion Oleksandr Usyk doesn't want to see Russian athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Usyk addressed International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach in a message on Instagram, telling Bach, "The medals that Russian athletes are going to win are medals of blood, deaths and tears," if allowed to take part in the Games.
Usyk won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. He is a perfect 20-0 since turning professional in 2013.
The post features video of Usyk staring into the camera and addressing Bach. The text in the post sums up his thoughts on matter, citing Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a reason to keep Russian athletes out of the games.
The 2024 Paris Olympics will be the first Games held since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. The invasion occurred just four days after the 2022 Beijing Olympics ended.
Usyk is not the first person to suggest Russian athletes be banned from the Games. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Tuesday no Russians or Belarusians should be allowed to compete at the 2024 Olympics due to the war in Ukraine. The IOC responded to Hidalgo's concerns Wednesday, saying, "There are no plans for a Russian or Belarusian delegation or the flags of these countries at the Olympic Games Paris 2024." The IOC, however, left open the possibility of athletes from the countries still competing at the Games.
That strategy is similar to how the IOC handled both the 2020 and 2022 Olympics. In 2019, Russia was banned from competing in the Games for four years due to a doping scandal. The country and its flag could not appear at the Games, but individual athletes were allowed to compete as part of the Russian Olympic Committee.
Hidalgo explained why she felt that would not be an acceptable outcome this time around.
"It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation that comes to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine," Hidalgo said Tuesday.
There is precedent for Russian athletes being banned from sporting events as a result of the war in Ukraine. Russian and Belarusian players could not take part in Wimbledon in 2022 due to the war. Wimbledon was not allowed to award ranking points in 2022 because of the ban.