FIG ends ban on Russia and Belarus gymnasts (effective January 1, 2024)

from the FIG website

FIG Executive Committee decision concerning the participation of athletes with Russian and Belarusian sporting nationality in international competitions

19/07/2023 2 MIN

The FIG Executive Committee (EC) took the following decisions today in relation to the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus on 26 February 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the measures already adopted on 1-2 March 2023.

  • To reiterate its firm condemnation of the senseless invasion of Ukraine by Russia and its commitment to impose severe punishments on anyone in the international Gymnastics community who is involved in war or supports war.
  • To continue to offer support to victims of the war in Ukraine.
  • To respect the right of all athletes, regardless of their nationality, to be treated without discrimination.

Regarding the participation of athletes with Russian and Belarusian sporting nationality in FIG sanctioned events, the FIG EC decided as follows:

  • To authorise, under strict conditions, the participation of athletes and support personnel of Russian and Belarusian sporting nationality in FIG sanctioned events listed on the FIG Calendar as “individual neutral athletes” without any involvement or association with the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus, their respective National Federations or National Olympic Committees.
  • To impose a strict requirement of neutrality with regard to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus for any participation in a FIG sanctioned event.

The participation of athletes as individual neutral athletes will be accompanied by several measures, to be described in the Ad-hoc Rules, aimed at ensuring strict compliance with the neutrality requirements.

Any athlete wishing to obtain the status of “individual neutral athlete” will have to apply to the FIG in accordance with the Ad-hoc Rules. This should lead, if the conditions are met, to the granting of “individual neutral athlete” status by the FIG. Athletes who are granted this status will be eligible to participate in FIG sanctioned events from 1 January 2024.

In the field of anti-doping, the FIG will implement specific procedures in collaboration with the International Testing Agency (ITA).

Although these decisions allow a return to FIG sanctioned events for Russian and Belarusian athletes, which may include Olympic qualification events for Paris 2024, the decision on whether Russian and Belarusian athletes will be eligible to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is the responsibility of the IOC.

“By accepting Russian and Belarusian gymnasts to participate in competitions as independent neutral athletes, the FIG is ensuring that the rights of all athletes are respected and is sending a message to the world that Gymnastics is seeking peace,” said FIG President Morinari Watanabe.

As a result of this decision, the FIG EC will now finalise the Ad Hoc Rules and their supporting documents, which will be published in the coming weeks.

I thought this deserved its own thread. Athletes from Russia and Belarus will be able to compete as neutral athletes if meeting certain criteria. More info here

1 Like

You posed the thread just as mine published.


1 Like

So many questions!!

Will any athletes go for this or just too proud?

Will Valentina change her mind?

How will FIG determine who is not eligible?
Nagornyy, Urasova, Listunova, Kuliak, Melnikova, Dalaloyan, all publicly supported the war.

Will it just be younger gymnasts who haven’t the fame of the A team sent to these events?

Do they just go for 3 individual slots at World Cup or will they hope to be added to either European or Asian continentals to get an AA slot?

How can athletes have no affiliation with the national federation? That makes no sense.


So pointing out the athletes still have to live their after…

Showing up to a parade, I don’t see that as a hanging offense (personally).

Russia will be limited to how many max?

1 Like

Majority of not all of those listed also showed the Z symbol.

Russia is limited to 3 men and 3 women.

I believe it’s up to 3 men and 3 women.

I do think people are over estimating what will be considered “support for the war”. It’s unlikely to include anything that occurred when the athlete was under 18, it’s also unlikely to include any indirect support ie attending parades or rallies. And I’m absolutely certain that it won’t include social media posts. No one has the time to collate and examine all the data.

I do think the approach the FIG is taking is a sensible one. Having athletes apply for neutral status is perhaps in itself a demonstration of distancing yourself from the governmental regime and it will allow scrutiny on a case by case basis.

I would be extremely surprised if any of top women would have any problem to get neutral status should they apply. The men however, very feasibly the whole team from Tokyo could be ineligible.

So many questions still to be answered as to how this will work.

Another one is how are they going to apply the rule about no involvement of the national federation? I guess in practice that just means Valentina is banned or something, because no gymnast from Russian or anywhere else competes in FIG competition without at least some involvement of the federation.

Do they just go for 3 individual slots at World Cup or will they hope to be added to either European or Asian continentals to get an AA slot?

The answer to this should be three World Cup spots. There’s no reason not to, they would all be allowed to compete AA in Paris.

We are also assuming the rules apply the same way to neutral athletes, but if there is no Russian or Belarusian team do the per country limits still apply? Obviously they should but that requires acknowledging in some way that they are Team Russia.

I’m confused. I thought apparatus world cup was limited to that event only.

Which is why Chusovitina was not eligible to do AA in Antwerp, because she only qualified on vault and bars.

So for Worlds qualification it is limited to that apparatus only, but for Olympics a gymnast can qualify with one event and do all around? That is weird.

I might be mistaken but wasn’t it how Jade Carey qualified to Tokyo? Just vault in World Cup but AA in Tokyo?

Yes, but that was the previous qualification system.

They started using the apparatus world cup this quad to qualify to Worlds, but a gymnast can only compete those events they qualify for and not the all around.
Just seems weird to change it for the Olympics.

Asking for logic and consistency from FIG is a bridge too far.


“without any involvement or association with the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus, their respective National Federations or National Olympic Committees.”

As others have asked, how is this even possible?

Has any gymnast competed successfully without the involvement of their National Federation or National Olympic Committee?

1 Like

I mean, isn’t that where their funding comes from?

I’m guessing it’s just a facade to allow the FIG to have their cake and eat it too. It’s not really enforceable.


In wondering too if these parameters were set with which gymnasts they did / didn’t want in mind. It’s not like the rules were made in advance so that gymnasts could opt to follow them or not. Surely they had people and situations in mind when they wrote them.

it says in the statement “ad hoc rules”, so the FIG is making it up as they go.

1 Like

Interesting question.

you said for worlds but does that also mean for olympics or just olympics they can do AA?

1 Like

I guess any gymnast with a Russian passport training in another country can apply. For example, a gymnast in the US with Russian parents who trains at WOGA or something. And the gymnast can either get sponsorship or if they have rich family pay their own way.

People are thinking someone like Alexeeva, who is at Stanford, can go this route.

Almost like tennis, I guess. A lot of them train somewhere else.

1 Like