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International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates said on Sunday that there could be as few as 40 Russian athletes competing under a neutral banner at the Paris Olympics this summer.

How many Russian athletes will there be at the Paris Olympics this summer when the event runs from July 26 to August 11? Since the sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s army in February 2022, no athlete has been allowed to defend the country’s colors at the Games. Only certain athletes will be admitted as neutrals. In an interview with Australia’s Daily Telegraph on Sunday, IOC Vice-President John Coates estimates that”there may not be more than 40″.

“There won’t be any athletes in team sports because they can’t compete as Team Russia,” says Coates. “All those who train in military clubs won’t be coming either. And, I don’t know, but no doubt some athletes would decide not to go if they weren’t competing on behalf of Russia.” In 2021, 335 Russians took part in the Tokyo Games (under the banner of their National Olympic Committee, the country having been officially suspended due to a doping scandal) and won 71 medals; Belarus (also targeted by the current sanctions) lined up 101 (7 medals).

The subject is highly sensitive. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, called the decision to accept Russian athletes subject to conditions “shameful” and declared that the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, “prefers that they don’t come.”

This post is originally from L’Équipe