The International Olympic Committee says Russian and Belarusian athletes cannot participate in the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympics

Russian and Belarusian athletes who qualified to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games as neutral individual athletes will not participate in the traditional team parade during the opening ceremony. The International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday.

These athletes will have the opportunity to “experience the event,” although the IOC has yet to clarify what that will look like.

The opening ceremony will not be held at the stadium. Instead, it will be displayed on the Seine River as athletes board their delegation boats and travel just under four miles (six kilometres) along the route to the Eiffel Tower.

The individual neutral athletes (AINs) who will compete in Paris have qualified Under “strict eligibility requirements”. The IOC's terms exclude any “athletes who actively support” the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as “support personnel who actively support the war” and anyone “contracted by the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies.” Additionally, only athletes participating in individual events are eligible.

No flag, emblems, anthems or other identifying symbols of Russia and Belarus will be displayed at the Olympic Games due to ongoing sanctions against the two countries.

There are currently 19 players eligible for the Paris Games – 12 with a Russian passport and seven with a Belarusian passport. The IOC expects 36 Russian passport PINs and 22 Belarusian passport PINs to qualify.

The Olympic Games begin on July 26 and conclude on August 11 with the closing ceremony. The IOC said that the decision on AIN's participation in this ceremony “will be made at a later stage, taking into account that it is not the teams that participate in the closing ceremony, but all the athletes together.”

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(Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

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