Amid escalating tensions between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, the IOC declared on Tuesday that neutral athletes holding passports from these countries will not partake in the Opening Ceremony parade.

The IOC's Executive Board formulated several measures concerning Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs) preceding the Olympics, including imposing "strict eligibility conditions" for such athletes participating as individuals. On Tuesday, the board determined that AINs would not join the delegation parade during the Opening Ceremony, emphasizing their individual status. However, they would still have the opportunity to attend the event on July 26. Guidelines for the closing ceremony are yet to be finalized.

Additionally, the board stipulated that Russian and Belarusian athletes competing as neutrals would be identified by a specific flag bearing their designation and an anthem without lyrics, exclusively designated for this purpose. Moreover, medals won by neutral athletes would not contribute to their countries' collective medal tally.

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Russia and Belarus face restrictions in team sports at the Olympics due to the conflict in Ukraine, requiring a two-step vetting process for individual athletes to attain neutral status. These athletes must gain approval from their respective sports governing bodies before undergoing evaluation by an IOC-appointed review panel. Criteria include refraining from public support for the invasion of Ukraine and having no affiliations with military or state security agencies.

The IOC had earlier cautioned other sports governing bodies against involvement in the Vladimir Putin-sponsored Friendship Games, viewed as a potential rival to the Olympics. A statement from the IOC urged all stakeholders to reject any engagement in initiatives aiming to politicize international sports fully.

The Friendship Games, initiated in response to the isolation faced by Russian and Belarusian athletes post-Ukraine invasion in 2022, promises substantial prize money and is scheduled to commence shortly after the Paris Olympics' conclusion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.