Olympic Games 2024: IOC criticises ‘extremely aggressive’ Russian claims

Russia’s response to a ban on its athletes from the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games has been “extremely aggressive”, says the International Olympic Committee.

The ruling body’s president, Thomas Bach, has also suffered personal attacks, it added.

Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from taking part in the opening ceremony at the 2024 Games in Paris, by the IOC on Tuesday.

Russia has been critical of the IOC.

The country’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday the IOC had “slipped into racism and neo-Nazism”.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus were banned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but they can compete at the Games as neutrals.

That means taking part without flags, emblems or the anthems of their country.

Zakharova said adopting neutral status forced athletes to “renounce any association with their homeland, with their citizenship, with their history, culture and people”.

“The IOC’s decisions are wrongful, unjust and unacceptable,” she added.

But Bach responded: “There are more quotes coming from Russia which are extremely aggressive.”

IOC spokesman Mark Adams also added: “We have seen some very aggressive statements out of Russia today. One comment goes beyond that. Linking the president, his nationality and the Holocaust is unacceptable and reaches a new low.”

“Everybody who is following the rules is welcome in the Olympic movement,” said Bach.

“From the moment the Russian Olympic Committee follow the rules they are welcome. The ball is in their court.”

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