Fact Check: Will 2024 Paris Olympics Be Marred By A Large-Scale Boycott?

Paris: The Olympic Games have had a history of boycotts due to various reasons.

As many as 66 nations stayed away from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, 34 countries skipped the 1976 Montreal Games while the 1984 Los Angeles Games saw 18 countries pulling out.

Will there be a large-scale boycott of next year’s Paris Olympics too?

After Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia rejected an International Olympic Committee (IOC) plan to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete in 2024, Poland’s Sports & Tourism minister Kamil Bortniczuk said up to 40 countries could boycott the next Olympic Games, BBC Sport reported.

Ukraine, too, will boycott Paris if Russia and Belarus athletes are allowed to compete at the next Games, for obvious reasons.

Russia, after all, invaded Ukraine last February with help from Belarus, and President Vladimir Putin has still not halted the special military operations.

The IOC, however, said no concrete discussion on return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to competition had taken place and warned Ukraine and other nations about the implications of a boycott.

“Threatening a boycott of the Olympic Games, which the NOC of Ukraine is currently considering, goes against the fundamentals of the Olympic movement and the principles it stands for,” the IOC wrote in a question-and-answer document published on Thursday.

“A boycott is a violation of the Olympic charter, which obliges all NOCs to participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes. As history has shown, previous boycotts did not achieve their political ends and served only to punish the athletes of the boycotting NOCs,” IOC stated.

The Polish minister said he believed it would be possible to bring together a coalition of 40 countries, including Great Britain, the United States and Canada.

The IOC is due to meet on February 10.

“I don’t think we will face tough decisions before the Olympics and, if we were to boycott the Games, the coalition we will be a part of will be broad enough to make holding the Games pointless,” Bortniczuk said.

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