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Russia Invasion Upends Olympic 'Neutrality' — If It Existed

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, left, shakes hands with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. The International Olympic Committee has always been political, from the sheikhs and royals in its membership to a seat at the United Nations to pushing for peace talks between the Koreas. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago exposed its irreconcilable claims of “political neutrality.” (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, left, shakes hands with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. The International Olympic Committee has always been political, from the sheikhs and royals in its membership to a seat at the United Nations to pushing for peace talks between the Koreas. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago exposed its irreconcilable claims of “political neutrality.” (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)

(AP) -- The International Olympic Committee has always been political, from the sheikhs and royals in its membership to a seat at the United Nations to pushing for peace talks between the Koreas. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago exposed its irreconcilable claims of “political neutrality.”

The IOC’s politics were evident at Hitler’s 1936 Olympics. During the Cold War, the Games were a stage for conflict (Mexico City), violence (Munich) and boycotts (Moscow). To this day, the IOC has partnered with authoritarian states like China and Russia, beginning with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, through the doping-scarred Sochi Games to the just-closed Beijing Winter Olympics.