The International Olympic Committee earlier this year recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes be readmitted to the sport under strict principles of neutrality.
At the same time, the final decision was placed in the hands of individual private international federations.
- In October, it was announced that the International Olympic Committee had decided to ban the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect.
- The IOC wrote that it stands by its recommendations from previous years and “reserves the right to decide whether neutral athletes with Russian passports will participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2026 Italian Winter Olympics.”
- The decision angered Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- On Monday this week, it was reported that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had lodged an appeal against its ban from the sport and would take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
- However, wrestling is among the sports that allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris next year.
Norwegian national team wrestler Morten Thoresen will not give up his hope of facing a Russian or Belarusian player at the Olympic Games.
– It is difficult, because it is not the fault of the athletes. At the same time, what the nation is doing is wrong. Therefore, the difficult question is whether athletes will be punished, and not others, Torsen tells Dagbladet.
– Totally wrong
Thorsen, who is fully committed to next year’s Paris Olympics, says he doesn’t fully understand the situation, but:
– What Russia is doing is completely wrong. I understand that very much. We are in the year 2023 and there is a war between countries. That shouldn’t happen. I have met many Russian wrestlers and they are good people, but what the nation is doing is wrong. “It is a punishment that could be imposed on Russia, and I understand if it has to be done,” the 26-year-old explains.
In May and April, there will be Olympic qualifiers for Thoresen, who promises to be in top form by then.
Supports the union
Stig’s former wrestling teammate Andre Berg, who shelved his professional career just over two years ago, wants sport and politics to be separated, but admits that is difficult in practice.
He gives his full support to the international wrestling federation, United World Wrestling (UWW).
-We have to deal with what the International Wrestling Federation decides to do. As long as comprehensive decisions are made about why they are allowed to participate, we have confidence in that. I expect UWW to make a proper evaluation when they allow them to join. So you can think whatever you want, but on the carpet we only meet another person. He’s not Russian or Japanese or whatever,” Berg tells Dagbladet.
The following individual Olympic sports have given the green light to the Russians and Belarusians, reports SVT Aftenposten:
Badminton, modern pentathlon, fencing, triathlon, skiing, taekwondo, wrestling, climbing, table tennis, rowing, swimming, boxing, shooting, tennis, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, golf, judo, sailing, weightlifting, free dancing, Shooting.
They say no:
Athletics, surfing and equestrian sports.
I totally disagree
Several Norwegian cross-country skiers have previously made it clear to Dagbladet that it is out of the question that Russians and Belarusians will be allowed to compete in World Cups and Championships.
Berg doesn’t want to take such a strong position.
– Everyone should be allowed to have their opinion, but these are athletes. They make their living playing sports. They are not the ones who think Russia should enter Ukraine. I understand if they get banned. You also have to consider the Ukrainians who are in the tournament. They may have chosen to stay in their homeland when Russia is allowed to participate, so the situation is very difficult, the 40-year-old believes.
It is considered a province
Berg states that the Russians are not wrestling for Russia, but for a neutral country under United World Wrestling (UWW).
-If I’m still active, I’ll have to walk a few laps by myself. I can interrupt. I know it was discussed before the World Cup when it was decided to allow Russia to participate, but not enough Nordic countries agreed to it, he says.
Berg, who during his career won bronze at both the Olympics and World Championships, adds:
– As an athlete, it is difficult, because it is your job, your dream and your life, but I think it should be the same throughout the sports world. In particular, in Olympic sports that have Olympic qualifications, the rules have to come from the IOC – and then international sports have to deal with them. There must be one referee who must be equal. “I think it’s very strange that some sports allow this, but others are stubborn and stick to their guns,” he concludes.
The Olympic Games in Paris begin on July 26 and end on August 11 of next year.
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