Final Word from Monday, February 13, 2023

The International Olympic Committee appears to favor allowing individual Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under a neutral flag at the Paris Games next year, although no final decision has been made. The Czech Olympic Committee, headed by Jiří Kejval, stresses that the sanctions from last year still apply, and he's against declaring now that the CR will boycott the Paris Olympics if Russians and Belarusians are ultimately allowed to attend. "I don't know why you're pushing us into a boycott," he told Czech TV. It isn't, it responded. Yet Poland's sports minister, Kamil Bortniczuk, said that allowing athletes from the two countries to compete could lead to a large-scale boycott and render the Games "pointless." It seems from a business standpoint - and the Olympics are mainly business - that keeping out the Russians and Belarusians is the way to minimize the losses to sponsors. However, it's again China that is the wild card. Would it go along with a ban on Russia, as it did in 1980? Or would it take sides with Moscow this time and refuse to send its own athletes to Paris? The stakes are higher now than ever. [ Czech Republic Summer Chinese Ukraine Asia ]

Glossary of difficult words

to render - to cause to be or to become; to make;

wild card - a person or thing whose influence is unpredictable or whose qualities are uncertain.

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