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The Russian gymnastics team, both in the men’s and women’s categories, currently faces an impasse in the Paris Olympics 2024 participation decision. The teams faced a two-year ban previously from participating in the 2022 and 2023 World Championships Qualifiers from the International Gym Federation (FIG). However, this January, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) lifted the stringent ban to facilitate the participation of Russian gymnasts in the Paris Olympics 2024 qualifying rounds in FIG World Cups.

But the gymnasts are yet to sneak into those ongoing contests. Meanwhile, American gymnast Fred Richard has supported the arch-rival’s participation in the French capital. In his support, the 19-year-old American prodigy raised certain points, maintaining a distance from the current politics. Rather, in the meantime, Fred Richard has potentially argued entirely through the sporting lens. 

Fred Richard waits for a healthy competition 

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In the past, the Russian gymnastics team proved to be the fearsome competitor of the American counterpart in the Olympics. In Tokyo, Russian gymnasts usurped the gymnastics floor with clean victories in both men’s and women’s team finals. “I think they should be on the floor um and yeah from a purely like competitive standpoint of just getting to face everybody,” Fred Richard said. Eventually, in The Sam Oldham Podcast, the former world all-around champion has not buzzed off the American mindset, brewing the arch rivalry. Nevertheless, the sporting attitude has echoed in him somewhere. 

So, making that clear, Fred has asked for a clean opportunity for all spearheads, irrespective of the political situation. “I’m not really thinking about how my country feels about their country I respect them as competitors, not anything that’s happening in the background,” he stated in the podcast.

But ultimately, the present situation hasn’t posed to be written off entirely as he has thought. Therefore, the jubilant gymnast has remained equivocal by claiming, “I would love to see them on the floor but I understand the situation.” However, the present situation is not supporting Russian gymnasts’ participation in the Paris Olympics 2024. 

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Debilitating days before the Paris Olympics 2024 

Despite FIG’s ban removal, the International Olympic Committee’s conditions before the Russian gymnasts have made the situation complex for the athletes. As reported by Marca, the Olympic regulation body gave three conditions for the Russian Sporting Federation to follow to ensure participation. But the gymnasts have opposed those conditions. Moreover, Vasily Titov, the president of the Artistic Gymnastics Federation, has mentioned their nonchalance in funding any gymnast for the Paris Olympics 2024. The same mindset has echoed in the Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation as well. 

Read more: Training for Paris Olympics 2024, Fred Richard Opens Up About His Goals for Gymnastics: “Never Satisfied“

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On the other hand, the Paris city mayor has clarified her mindset on the situation as well. “I prefer that they don’t come,” Anne Hidalgo, the mayor, told Reuters on March 13. However, a lot is on the table in discussing the fate of the gymnasts along with other Russian athletes in the opening ceremony as well. The IOC will soon make a last call on it in their upcoming session. 

Also read: Weeks After Winter Cup Withdrawal, Fred Richard Continues to Expand His NIL Deals