Wladimir Klitschko joined the Ukrainian Army in 2022 when Russia launched its invasion in February, and now he is a part of the fight to block those who supported Vladimir Putin from participating in the Olympics.
Klitschko, who won a gold medal in boxing at the 1996 Olympics, posted a video message Monday addressed to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach calling on him to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Games due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
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"You are the representative of the universal values of tolerance and peace," Klitschko said. "You propose to reauthorize Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris games. I tell you today: The Russians are Olympic champions in crimes against civilians. They have the gold medal in deportation of children and rape of women. You cannot put your Olympic emblem on these crimes because you will be an accomplice with this abominable war.
"Do not do this, otherwise you will betray the Olympic spirit. A country that tramples on the basic principle of international law cannot be legitimized and supported by the international body of sport. Do not make this monumental mistake. The world is watching you. History will judge you. Good luck with your decision."
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The IOC set out its preferred path last week for Russians and Olympians who have not openly supported the war to qualify for Paris and compete in 18 months’ time as neutral athletes with no flag or anthem. Ukraine warned it would boycott Paris.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy invited Bach to war-torn Bakhmut last week.
On Monday, the IOC said it "rejects in the strongest possible terms this and other defamatory statements."
The IOC has also pointed to human rights concerns at the United Nations that athletes must not face discrimination based on their passports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.