NEW: IOC to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from Olympics opening ceremony in Paris

The IOC announced Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be allowed to participate in the opening ceremony for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The IOC said competing athletes from Russia and Belarus will only be able to "experience the event," which will this year be a boat parade down the River Seine featuring thousands of other competing athletes. AP News reports this likely meant Russian and Belarusian athletes will be permitted to watch near the river.

In order for these athletes to qualify for the Olympics in the first place, however, they must be designated as "neutral," meaning they must not have publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine, or be affiliated with military or state security agencies.

The IOC reported it expects 36 neutral Russian athletes and 22 neutral Belarusian athletes to qualify for the Olympics. It also stated it will decide "at a later stage" if those athletes will be allowed to take part in the closing ceremony.

This is a breaking story. Refresh for updates.

Image: Title: russia olympics
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