Should Russia Be Allowed To Compete In The Next Olympics?

Should A Country Be Denied Entrance To The Olympics?

Matthew Gemme, Staff Writer

The Olympics are a marvelous spectacle deeply rooted in tradition tracing roots back 3,000 years. The event is supposed to represent the best athletes competing in the name of their country’s pride and glory. The Olympics represent a chance for countries who normally would not be in communication to join together in chasing athletic glory.

In normal circumstances, every country would be invited to take place in the competition. The Olympics have banned nations from taking part for various reasons. Some common examples include protesting offensive policies, due to the country’s involvement in a particular armed conflict.

For example, in the 2000 Olympics, Afghanistan was banned from competing due to its discriminating policies toward women’s athletics. Also during and after WWII select countries were banned from participating in the Olympics.

Russian athletes as they marched onto the field at the start of the last Olympics. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

This is understandable but is it right?

The Olympics should not be politicized and being denied the right to take place in it could be seen as wrong and against the whole idea of the Olympics as a unifying event. 

So the question is: should Russians be denied the right to compete because of their country’s current conflict in Ukraine?

History shows us this can happen and has happened before. Let us dive into the facts to show the overall feeling on this issue. First America’s take on this issue is explained in a statement issued on December 12th, 2022.  The statement is as follows: Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, as long as they do not compete under their nations’ flags or colors.” 

This is a great response and offers a solution to both sides of the problem; the athletes still get to compete without offending anyone by representing Russia. In theory, this is the perfect solution to the issue but like any issue, there is a contrary opinion.

The Olympics have banned nations from taking part for various reasons

In this example that contrary opinion comes from Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called for Russian athletics to be entirely banned from taking place in the Olympics even as neutral competitors not representing Russia. 

Obviously, this is a biased opinion because it is Zelenskyy’s country being attacked, but it begs the question: should the Olympics be offered to every country or just good-behaving ones?

This is my take on the issue. I believe athletes should be able to show off their great talents regardless of where they were born. The athletes were good enough to be pros and worked their entire lives to get to the position they are now in, only to be told they cannot compete because of their country’s actions which they have no control over.

This is why the plan proposed by the US seems logical. It meets the popular opinion of not having Russia allowed in the Olympics but still allows their athletes a chance to show off their skills on the big stage. Now that I have clarified where I stand on this issue, the time has arrived when another point of view must be explored and explained. 

A 3D rendering of what the 2024 Olympics will look like (

This is in the interest of putting myself in the other viewpoint to better understand the issue. Imagine you are a Ukrainian citizen and your country was just brutally invaded and your house tragically destroyed. Would you want members from the country who invaded yours to be celebrated in a series of world games?

The expected answer would be no. But in this scenario, the aggressor is treated like a normal country that is just coexisting peacefully with its fellow countries. This is wrong. Action must be taken so it does not appear that we are for or ok with invasions of peaceful, non-threatening countries. Not punishing Russia in some way would show that the world allows countries to act violently without punishment; it would not deter them from continuing this aggressive behavior toward other nations in the future.

So when the time comes in 2024 for the next Olympics, I hope the right choice is made–let them participate. Whether you believe that the right choice involves Russia not competing or if you believe they should, the right choice needs to be picked. My choice is for them to compete neutrally–what would you do?

This poll has ended.

Should Russia be allowed to compete in the 2024 Olympics?


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