How the war in Ukraine is changing the world of sport

Hands crossed, buried in his chair, Vladimir Putin is sleeping. At least he wants to believe so when the Ukrainian delegation begins its parade, during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Putin is sleeping, and the whole world is tensing up, worried about this new provocation in a context of escalating tensions between Moscow and kyiv. It is February 4, 2022: twenty days later, thousands of Russian soldiers will cross the Ukrainian border, marking the beginning of a conflict with multiple repercussions. With, among the most unexpected, the explosion of the myth of the political neutrality of the sporting world.

“The war currently raging in Ukraine places the Olympic movement in a dilemma,” acknowledged Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on February 28. Should we follow the line of conduct inherited from Pierre de Coubertin, making sport a uniting tool, “beyond any political dispute? Or should we focus on fairness, when the Ukrainians cannot train, unlike their Russian opponents?

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