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World Rowing Responds to IOC Recommendations

BY LUKE REYNOLDS
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER

World Rowing made the announcement Tuesday morning that it will not allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in any of its international rowing competitions, “with immediate effect and until further notice.”

The announcement is a result of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board’s recommendation that International Sports Federations and sports event organizers across the world not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.

“The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma. While athletes from Russia and Belarus would be able to continue to participate in sports events, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so because of the attack on their country,” the announcement reads. “This is a dilemma which cannot be solved. The IOC EB has therefore today carefully considered the situation and, with a heavy heart, issued the following resolution.”

The resolution also includes a recommendation to withdraw the “Olympic Order from all persons who currently have an important function in the government of the Russian Federation or other government-related high-ranking position.”

That list includes Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Chernyshenko, and Dmitry Kozak.

World Rowing published a statement on the invasion on February 26 expressing its “deepest sadness at the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine, and its concern for the people affected, first and foremost in Ukraine, and also in Russia and Belarus where people will inevitably and involuntarily be affected as well.”

The bulletin recommending that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred from competition follows an announcement Friday urging all international sports federations to relocate or cancel sports events currently planned to take place in Belarus or Russia.

World Rowing’s announcement Tuesday morning confirmed that there are no events scheduled to take place in Russia or Belarus in 2022 but did not clarify whether it would be moving or canceling the two races that are currently scheduled to take place in the two countries in 2023 and 2024.

The 2023 European Rowing Under-23 Championships are scheduled to take place August 26-27, 2023 in Russia, and the 2024 European Rowing Under-19 Championships are currently scheduled to take place May 18-19, 2024 in Minsk, Belarus.

The moves are a result of Russia’s breach of United Nations Resolution A/RES/76/13 as well as Belarus’ involvement in the Ukrainian invasion. The resolution is most commonly referred to as the Olympic Truce which began seven days before the start of the Winter Olympic Games on February 4 and ends seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games.

The Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing are set to begin on March 4 and end on March 13.

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