The Russian women’s gymnastics team celebrating its gold medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
If history has taught us anything, it is that humanity will always find a reason to fight with one another. The world caught a glimpse of this habit, once more, through Russia’s unjust invasion of Ukraine, an act widely regarded as one done out of petty selfishness, spite, and greed. As such, the world could not sit back and watch. Since direct interference with the war becomes an issue as it could lead to severe international conflicts, several bodies opted to boycott the Russian government in hopes of getting them to pull out of Ukraine. One such organization was the International Gymnastics Federation, the sport’s main governing body. The ban was announced in March of last year, shortly after the invasion began, and has continued to be in effect as of the writing of this article.
Last month, the European Gymnastics Federation was asked by what date the ban must be lifted for the Russian team to be eligible to compete at the European Championships. In response, the head of media wrote, “according to our rules, changes can be made until the draw,” in an email sent on March 8. This provides a massive issue for the Russian team, as the draw was held nearly two weeks ago, preventing the team from competing at the European championships they would need to place at in order to move on to the Olympic qualifiers. As a consequence, the Russians will be unable to compete at the 2024 Paris games. Should the ban be lifted in time, however, it is still possible for the athletes to compete in individual gymnastic events if they qualify. But this scenario appears to be highly unlikely as of right now, because the ban seems like it is going to stay in place until Russia ends the war with Ukraine, and the government has shown no sign of stopping the invasion in the near future.
Though the invasion itself is universally seen cruel act, some believe that the Russian athletes should not have to pay for the decisions of their government. Others believe that, though the people did nothing wrong, the temporary loss of certain privileges is a necessary sacrifice if it means increasing the chances of the government backing out of Ukraine. As of now, however, all we can do is wait.