Ukrainian Boxing Legend Wladimir Klitschko Destroys the IOC for Allowing Russian Athletes to Compete: ‘Contaminates the Olympic Spirit’

Wladimir Klitschko

Gregor Fischer/AP

Former Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko expressed grave disappointment in the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international sports.

On Tuesday, the IOC laid out the path Russians and Belarusians must take to be eligible. Athletes will have to compete under a neutral status and have no military links to either country. Additionally, athletes who have displayed active support for the war in Ukraine will not be permitted to compete.

Only athletes involved in individual events may compete. They are barred from participating in international team sports like soccer and basketball.

The IOC also made clear that these stipulations do not apply to the 2024 Olympics in Paris. A decision regarding that event will be made at a later date.

Klitschko, never one to shy away from criticizing Russia, was not happy with the decision.

“This decision is a false flag,” Klitschko said on Twitter. “(IOC President) Thomas Bach serves the colors and interests of Russia. This decision contaminates the Olympic spirit and is like this war: a nonsense.”

Klitschko has been opposed to the decision since it became known it was under consideration. In January, shortly after it was reported the IOC was open to letting Russians compete in 2024, he posted a video online urging Bach to ban the country.

“Do not make this mistake, this monumental mistake,” Klitschko said. “The world is watching you. History will judge you. Good luck with your decision.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has also opposed Russian participation. In February, he posted a video on Twitter explaining why.

“While Russia kills and terrorizes,” he said, “representatives of the terrorist state have no place at sports and Olympic competitions.”

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