During the 2024 Olympics in Paris, you may notice some athletes labeled as Individual Neutral Athletes rather than representatives of their respective countries. The label was created by the International Olympic Committee and will apply to athletes hailing from Russia and Belarus throughout the games.

As a result of Russia invading Ukraine in February 2022, the IOC declared that Russian and Belarusian athletes shouldn't be permitted to compete in international sporting events. In January 2023, the organization softened its stance by allowing these athletes to compete as neutral athletes at Paris Olympics. The label was previously used for Russian and Belarusian athletes competing at ATP, WTA and Grand Slam tennis events as those athletes didn't represent their nationality.

The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended by the IOC in October 2023. However, the IOC Executive Board ruled that it wasn't fair to ban athletes from competing simply because they were originally from Russia or Belarus. 

What is an Individual Neutral Athlete?

An Individual Neutral Athlete is the term that refers to athletes from Russia or Belarus competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Those particular competitors will be referred to by the abbreviation AIN, which is derived from the French translation "Athlètes Individuels Neutres."

Those athletes will be allowed to compete in the Summer Games as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. However, those two countries won't be referenced at any point during the Paris Olympics.

"The sanctions against those responsible for the war, the Russian and Belarusian states and governments, remain in place for the Olympic Games Paris 2024," the IOC said in a recent statement. "No flag, anthem, colors or any other identifications whatsoever of Russia or Belarus will be displayed at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in any official venue or any official function."

The gear that AINs will wear hasn't been released at the current time, so it's unclear what those athletes will wear when the Summer Games get underway. Considering that there's a flag for the AINs, that could be what those athletes end up wearing.

Individual Neutral Athletes are still able to win medals for themselves. However, there won't be any Russian or Belarusian flags represented in team events.