SportsScandal erupts as pro-Putin athlete qualifies for Paris 2024 Olympics amid ongoing Ukraine war

Scandal erupts as pro‑Putin athlete qualifies for Paris 2024 Olympics amid ongoing Ukraine war

In the photo: Vladimir Putin and Władysław Larin (Wikipedia/CCA 4.0/Ria Novosti)
In the photo: Vladimir Putin and Władysław Larin (Wikipedia/CCA 4.0/Ria Novosti)
Images source: © Licensor
4:51 PM EST, December 20, 2023

When the International Olympic Committee announced that Russians and Belarusians could participate in next year's Olympics, it sparked a significant uproar. Despite some restrictions, representatives from countries that have invaded Ukraine will be competing in the world's largest sports event, a move that has not been taken lightly worldwide.

Many critics foresaw negative ramifications of this decision, fearing that we'd see sportsmen and women in Olympic arenas who openly support Putin and his war. The anticipated controversies have already started cropping up, as highlighted by the recent developments involving Władysław Larin.

The Russian taekwondo athlete has secured his qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The controversy around this athlete lies in the fact that he doesn't shy away from expressing his views supporting the Ukraine war.

Larin has been personally involved in fundraising for Russian soldiers involved in the Ukraine conflict. He previously made social media posts urging his followers to "unite and support those who are defending our Motherland". But that's not just it.

A photo of Larin alongside Putin has been making rounds online, seemingly showing a camaraderie. The photograph, dating back to 2021, captures the moment when Putin invited the Olympic medalists from the Tokyo 2020 games to meet him, including Larin, who had won a gold medal in the +176 lbs taekwondo category at the event.

The fact that the Russians were denied participation in the taekwondo world championships held in Baku a few months ago stands in stark contrast to their current situation. With the IOC's recent green light, they can partake in the qualifications for next year's games in Paris.

Russians, as well as Belarusians, have been granted permission to compete in the French capital but will do so under a neutral flag. They would not be allowed to play their national anthems or express their nationality. Furthermore, participants are supposed to be screened based on their support for war activities and any militaristic affiliations. It would be interesting to see how Larin's situation evolves further, considering the clear evidence of his support for the war in Ukraine.

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