— Published 20 February 2023

A consensus on the Russian issue

Things are clear in Canada: the sports and political authorities have the same position on the issue of a possible participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris 2024 Games. They are opposed to it. The director of sports of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Eric Myles, explained it last week in Montreal: “We do not support the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the current conditions. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the situation has not changed. On the contrary, it has deteriorated.” The same is true of federal sports minister Pascale St-Onge. “Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to participate in international sports competitions,” she said in a written note to the COC. We continue to show solidarity with Ukraine, and I encourage the international sport community to do the same.” Former sprinter Bruny Surin, chef de mission of the Canadian team for the Paris 2024 Games, also displays his opposition to a presence of both delegations in the French capital. “It is a question of seeing how it will evolve, he explained last week, quoted by Radio-Canada. Now, I would also be up for saying, “Look, Russian athletes, sorry, that’s it, we maintain the exclusion.” But the COC says it is hostile to a possible boycott of the Olympics. “We don’t believe in that,” suggests Eric Myles. A boycott of the Games is not an option for us. It’s also not the approach to move forward in this situation.””