IOC President Thomas Bach has made it clear that Israel will compete at the upcoming Olympics in Paris. “No, there is no question about this,” Bach said when asked if Israel could be banned from participating. A handful of protests have been made since Israel resumed hostilities with Palestine last October. These protests have primarily stemmed from Russia, who are currently prohibited from participating due to doping scandals and their invasion of Ukraine.

Furthermore, Bach said there would be special attention given to Israeli athletes who compete outside secured venues, such as cyclists. “Since the heinous attack on the Israeli team [Munich 1972], there were always special measures being taken with Israeli athletes. The authorities feel comfortable that the same will be true of course also for Paris, Marseille, or wherever there will be Israeli representation,” Bach noted. At the time of writing, 55 Israeli athletes have qualified for the Games.

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Kevin Durant Sets High Team USA Benchmark For Olympics

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

As the Games draw closer and closer, more and more athletes have begun to speak on their intentions about the Games. Kevin Durant has stated that he wants Team USA to “really make a statement” at the Olympics with “40, 50-point wins” against their opponents. There are four Olympic berths left to decide for the men’s competition. However, currently, the USA’s opponents could include France, South Sudan, Canada, Japan, Germany, Serbia, and Australia. Durant, a member of the initial player pool for Team USA, is a frontrunner to return to the squad, which is expected to be announced in May.

During the 2020 Olympics, in which Team USA won gold, they averaged a margin of victory of 25.4 points. However, this involved bouncing back from an opening game loss to France. They would later beat by five in the gold medal match. Only one of Team USA’s games, a 120-66 win over Iran, met Durant’s 2024 benchmark of “40, 50-point wins”. Team USA has won every men’s basketball gold medal since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

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