Updated Mar 1, 2022 - Sports

Team USA governing body: Ban Russia, Belarus from Beijing Paralympics

Flag handover at Beijing Olympics
The flag handover during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the National Stadium in Beijing. Photo: Song Yanhua/Xinhua via Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee early on Tuesday called for a "complete ban on international sport participation" for Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials over the invasion of Ukraine, "effective immediately."

Why it matters: If this were to happen, the countries' athletes would be barred from competing in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, which start this Friday.

  • "As the world watches in horror while Russia brazenly attacks the innocent people and athletes of Ukraine, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace has been restored," said Team USA's governing body in a statement.

The big picture: The call came hours after the International Olympic Committee urged sports organizations to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus participating in global events, but said "on short notice for organisational or legal reasons," they should compete under a neutral name.

  • The IOC said a ban was needed in "order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants."
  • The organization's recommendation also cited both Russia and Belarus' violations of the Olympic Truce caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • The IOC also withdrew the Olympic Order it had awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials.

What they're saying: "The IOC EB welcomes and appreciates the many calls for peace by athletes, sports officials and members of the worldwide Olympic Community," the IOC said in their statement on Monday.

  • "The IOC admires and supports in particular the calls for peace by Russian athletes," it added.

Go deeper: The latest on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the Olympic committee.

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