The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be absent from the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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    Russian and Belarusian athletes are set to skip the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics, which marks the first ceremony held along a river. The decision was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board on Tuesday.

    James Macleod, IOC Director of Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committees Relations, stated during a news conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, that Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs) would not participate in the parade of delegation teams during the opening ceremony. However, arrangements will be made for them to be part of the event experience.

    A determination regarding their participation in the closing ceremony will be made at a later time.

    AINs refer to athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports who have met the eligibility criteria for the games. The executive board has also sanctioned a flag and an anthem for the AINs, with the anthem being devoid of lyrics.

    In the event that an AIN athlete wins a medal, it will not be attributed to any specific National Olympic Committee. Instead, an AIN flag will be hoisted, and the AIN anthem will be played during the victory ceremonies.

    Following the IOC’s announcement in December, Russian and Belarusian athletes are only eligible to compete as individual neutral athletes at the Paris Games, provided they meet the eligibility requirements. Teams representing Russia and Belarus will not be considered, and athletes who actively support the conflict in Ukraine will also be disqualified.

    The Opening Ceremony, expected to draw nearly 104,000 spectators along the Seine River, will have an additional 220,000 attendees on raised roadways spanning the six-kilometer stretch where the event will take place, as per French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. However, due to security concerns, the attendance capacity has been halved. Nonetheless, Darmanin assured that there were no specific terrorist threats directed at the Paris Olympics and Paralympics.

    In a separate announcement earlier this month, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stated that Russian and Belarusian Paralympic athletes will also be absent from their respective Opening Ceremony on August 28.

    The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics are scheduled to commence on July 26 and conclude on August 11, while the Paralympic Games will run from August 28 to September 8.

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