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Bulgarian Ex-Minister and Shooting Sports Legend Endorses IOC Neutrality Amid Russia, Belarus Olympic Dilemma
Vesela Letcheva, a former acting Minister of Youth and Sports in Bulgaria and a shooting sports legend, recently voiced her support for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its stance on maintaining political neutrality in sports. Letcheva, a five-time world shooting champion, emphasized the importance of the IOC's efforts to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutrals in international events, despite ongoing geopolitical tensions.
Acknowledging her role as a member of the IOC's Committee on Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, Letcheva highlighted the significance of preserving the organization's credibility and staying detached from political conflicts.
She emphasized the primary goal of the Olympic movement—to unite rather than divide—and stressed the importance of prioritizing athletes' participation in major sporting events. Letcheva shared her personal experience of missing the 1984 Olympic Games due to the boycott by Eastern Bloc countries, citing the profound impact it had on her and fellow athletes.
Letcheva urged for decisions that wouldn't put athletes in similar situations, emphasizing the emotional toll and setback it caused her career. While the IOC is yet to finalize its decision on Russian athletes' participation in the upcoming Paris Games, it recently expelled the Russian Olympic Committee for affiliating with organizations from Ukraine's annexed regions.
Proposing the idea of "Olympians without borders," Letcheva suggested a program involving medalists from various nations in charitable activities and as role models in conflict zones, aiming to inspire hope and raise awareness about global issues.
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