The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), in a letter to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), says the UCC “was appalled to learn that the vast majority of the leaders of the stakeholder groups of the Olympic Movement and the International Paralympic Committee favored exploring a pathway to participation in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris for athletes from the Russian Federation and Belarus.”
The letter, signed by UCC National President Alexandra Chyczij and addressed to Tricia Smith, the president of the COC and a member of the International Olympic Committee, emphasizes that thousands of Ukrainians, including athletes, have been murdered in Russia’s genocidal war of aggression against Ukraine and millions have been displaced. “The Russian Federation is committing systematic, wide-scale war crimes, crimes against humanity, rape, abduction of children, deportation and other unspeakable crimes. The scale of the horror that Russia is visiting upon Ukraine has not been seen in Europe since WWII,” the letter reads.
Chyczij cites Canadian Olympic Broadcasting Chairman Richard Pound, who stated, “At a certain point, there is a shared national responsibility for national conduct.”
“To allow Russian athletes who, either through their actions, or through their silence, are complicit in Russia’s crimes to participate in the Olympics is to signal an endorsement by the IOC of those crimes,” Chyczij added.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress also hopes that the International Olympic Committee will “reflect upon the lessons of history and the ignominy which befell the IOC in allowing Hitler’s Germany to host the 1936 Olympics. Simply put, should the IOC allow these [Russian] athletes to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics, the IOC would itself be seen as a promoter of war, murder and destruction.”
The UCC calls on the Canadian Olympic Committee to “strongly oppose the IOC’s intention to allow Russian and Belarusian citizens to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics.”
“In the event that the Russian and Belarusian athletes are permitted by the IOC to participate in these Olympics, the UCC expects that the Canadian Olympic Committee will join Ukraine and other partner nations in boycotting these Games as an event that reflects neither Canada’s values nor the spirit in which international athletic competitions ought to be held,” the Ukrainian Canadian Congress states.
On Sunday, the Defense of Ukraine reported on one more Ukrainian athlete killed by the Russians – U20 decathlon champion of the country Volodymyr Androschuk, who died in a battle near Bakhmut on Jan. 25. “A promising athlete and a true hero, he could have been able to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris, if russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine,” the tweet reads.