(Reuters) – The U.S. Olympic Committee said on Monday they were told by the U.S. government that President Donald Trump’s ban on visitors from some Muslim-majority countries should not impact athletes traveling to the United States for international events.
USOC leaders have received a number of inquiries about the impact of Trump’s travel ban and said the U.S. government told them it would work to ensure foreign athletes get expedited access to the United States for international competitions.
“We have been specifically asked about the impact that the executive order could have on athletes and officials coming to the United States to compete,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst and chief executive Scott Blackmun.
“The U.S. government has today advised us that it will work with us to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States in order to participate in international athletic competitions.”
By executive order on Friday, Trump banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – and temporarily halted the entry of refugees.
Probst and Blackmun said that like the United States, the Olympic Movement was founded upon the principles of diversity and inclusion, of opportunity and overcoming adversity.
“As the steward of the Olympic Movement in the United States, we embrace those values. We also acknowledge the difficult task of providing for the safety and security of a nation,” Probst and Blackmun said.
“It is our sincere hope that the executive order as implemented will appropriately recognize the values on which our nation, as well as the Olympic Movement, were founded.”
Earlier on Monday USA Wrestling said it plans to send a team to next month’s World Cup in Iran despite that country’s claim that it would ban American visitors in retaliation to Trump’s immigration order.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)