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Wladimir Klitschko calls for IOC to ban Russian athletes

“Actions speak louder than words. Isolation, and this isolation speaks louder than any word or any line because isolation is painful.” 

Web Summit 2021 - Day One Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

Wladimir Klitschko believes that all Russian athletes should be banned from global competition.

The Ukrainian former world heavyweight boxing champion called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russian athletes in light of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

“The IOC should ban the Russian team now. The war is going now, they cannot participate at the next Olympic games, they cannot participate at any athletic events because this war is represented by Russia,” he told “Piers Morgan Uncensored” on Fox Nation. “Actions speak louder than words. Isolation, and this isolation speaks louder than any word or any line because isolation is painful.”

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the world’s largest nation has transformed into a pariah in the world of sports. Russia’s national and club soccer teams have been banned from international competition, including the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. UEFA also canceled its $45 million a year sponsorship deal with Gazprom, and moved the Champions League Final, which was due to play in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, to Paris. The International Paralympic Committee also moved to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus on the eve of the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

For its part, the IOC urged sports bodies to exclude Russian athletes from international competition, stating that there was a need to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”

However, the Olympic body’s decision was not a total blanket ban, leaving room for athletes to compete as neutral athletes. Klitschko has since criticized that decision, claiming it was not impactful enough.

“It’s going to be painful for athletes, for the economy, it’s going to be painful for anyone and everybody involved with Russia,” Klitschko said.