September 26, 2023

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Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Oleksandr Usyk has become the latest athlete calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russian athletes from the 2024 Paris Olympics. Usyk, who won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, recently addressed IOC president Thomas Bach in a post on Instagram in which he strongly condemned the plan to allow Russian athletes at the 2024 Olympics. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine still ongoing, Usyk said Russians would only win “medals of blood.”

“I am a Ukrainian athlete,” Usyk wrote on Instagram. “I won an Olympic gold in boxing in 2012. I am the current world heavyweight champion and my name is Oleksandr Usyk. You want to allow Russian athletes to compete at the Olympics. Russian Armed Forces invaded our country and kill civilians.

“Russian Army is killing Ukrainian athletes and coaches and destroying sports grounds as well as sports halls. The medals that Russian athletes are going to win are medals of blood, deaths and tears.

“Let me wish you to have peaceful sky above you and to be in a good health and happy.”

Usyk’s statement comes less than two weeks after Wladimir Klitschko called out Bach in a Twitter video. Like Usyk, Klitschko said allowing Russian athletes to participate in 2024 would be inexcusable.

“The Russians are Olympic champions in crimes against civilians,” Klitschko said. “They have the gold medal in deportation of children and rape of women. You cannot put your Olympic emblem on these crimes because you will be an accomplice with this abominable war.”

Back in January, the IOC released a statement saying it wanted to create a “pathway” for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Summer Games. In order to be eligible, those athletes would have to refrain from publicly supporting Russia’s war with Ukraine, and they would have to compete as neutral athletes without wearing the colors of their home country.

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