Track stymies Russian path to Olympics due to war in Ukraine
FILE - A Russian flag is held above the Olympic Rings at Adler Arena Skating Center during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 18, 2014. Russia and its ally Belarus have been invited to compete at the Asian Games in the next step to qualify athletes for next year's Paris Olympics. One year after the invasion of Ukraine began, Russia's reintegration into the world of sports threatens to create the biggest rift in the Olympic movement since the Cold War. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Eddie Pells, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, March 23, 2023 1:56PM EDT
Track and field leaders signaled Thursday that it will be nearly impossible for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Paris Olympics next year if the war in Ukraine continues.
The World Athletics Council kept its ban on Russian athletes in international events in place “for the foreseeable future." It's a move that goes directly against the International Olympic Committee's efforts to find a way for Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in upcoming events.
World Athletics will form a working group to determine under what conditions Russians might return to international competition, but for now, there is no apparent pathway.
The move came on the same day that World Athletics finally lifted a seven-year suspension of Russia's track federation for a doping scandal that dates back a decade.
Though the federation is back in good standing so long as it adheres to nearly three dozen “special conditions,” that move did nothing to change the reality that Russians will not be allowed at track meets for at least several months, if not years.