The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it rejects “defamatory statements” by Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak. The former journalist said that the IOC was a “promoter of war, murder and destruction,” following the committee’s decision to consider ways for Russian athletes to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games.
“The IOC rejects in the strongest possible terms this and other defamatory statements. They cannot serve as a basis for any constructive discussion. Therefore, the IOC will not further comment on them,” an IOC spokesperson told CNN in a statement on Tuesday.
The IOC has indicated that Russian and Belarusian athletes could be allowed to “participate in competitions as ‘neutral athletes’ and in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country, as is already happening in professional leagues, particularly in Europe, the United States and Canada, and in some individual professional sports.”
Podolyak had tweeted: “The IOC watches with pleasure RF destroying [Ukraine] & then offers [Russia] a platform to promote genocide & encourages their further killings.
“Obviously [Russian]-money that buys Olympic hypocrisy doesn’t have a smell of [Ukrainian] blood. Right, Mr. Bach,” he added.
During his nightly address on Saturday, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said he “wrote a letter to the presidents of the International Sports Federations with a call to reconsider the decision of the International Olympic Committee to return Russian athletes to international competitions.”
According to Zelensky, once “Russian athletes appear at international competitions, it is only a matter of time before they start justifying Russia’s aggression and using the symbols of terror.” He called the International Olympic Committee decision “an unprincipled flexibility.”