In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more and more sports are following in the footsteps of the International Olympic Committee.
Russia was banned from participating in international ice skating and skiing events, as well as basketball and track events. This came a day after it was expelled from soccer competitions, and hockey, which is Vladimir Putin’s favorite sport. These decisions were made in response to the request of the IOC to international sports federations not to allow Russian athletes to participate in events they host.
The International Skating Union, which oversees the sport worldwide, stated that no Russian or Belarusian athletes “shall be invited” or permitted to compete in events until further notice.
Russia’s key ally in the attack on Ukraine was Belarus.
The world figure skating championships will be held in Montpellier, France later this month. The ISU has ruled that Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova, and her 15-year-old partner Kamila Valieva will be exempted from the competition. They were the subject of a still-unresolved Doping dispute at the Winter Olympics.
Russia has been harshly critical of the restrictions on sports.
“Our country has always adhered the principle of sport being beyond politics, but they are constantly drawn into politics because they understand how important sport is in the lives of the Russian people,” Dmitry Chernyshenko (Deputy Prime Minister), said Tuesday at a Sports Ministry meeting. He was stripped of an IOC honor due to organizing the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Russian and Belarusian tennis players, including Daniil Medvedev (who is Russian) can compete on the ATP, WTA and Grand Slams tours. However, they are not allowed to fly national flags. Until further notice, the countries are not allowed to participate in team competitions such as the Davis Cup or Billie Jean King Cup. Both were won by Russian players last year, and they are now qualified to compete in the finals this year as defending champions.
After being expelled by the International Ski Federation (FIS), Russian cross-country skiers were headed home from Norway. They had won 11 medals at Beijing Olympics.
After a three-day dispute with Norwegian ski officials, the decision was reached after which they said that they would not allow Russians or Belarusians to race if FIS did not maintain its policy of allowing them as neutral athletes.
“First, I am happy that FIS has made this decision,” stated Erik Roste, president of the Norwegian ski federation, who also serves on the ruling council. “Then, I must be honest and admit that it has taken too much time.”
After Johan Eliasch, FIS president, participated in a conference call hosted jointly by the IOC and the governing bodies for Olympic sports, the FIS position changed Tuesday morning.
Track and field: Russia was suspended in 2015 for doping violations, but allowed to compete under the “Authorized Neutral Athletes” designation.
Sebastian Coe is the track’s governing body. Sebastian Coe is the track’s governing body. Coe was an athlete who defied the Soviet Union’s invasion in Afghanistan 1980 Moscow Olympics and won a gold medal in 1,500m.
Coe stated, “I have protested against the practice by politicians targeting athletes and sports to make political points while other sectors continue to their business.” This is different because governments, businesses and other international organisations have imposed sanctions against Russia in all sectors. Sport must join the efforts to end the war and restore peace. This one cannot be ignored.
The International Basketball Federation suspended Russia. This will affect Russia’s chances of qualifying for next year’s men’s World Cup. Russia had already lost its qualifying match against the Netherlands last week. The Russian women’s soccer team is now qualified to participate in the September World Cup.
Russia was not allowed to host the August men’s world volleyball championships by the International Volleyball Federation. The International Volleyball Federation also banned Russian clubs and teams from international events. Meanwhile, rowing, badminton and canoeing decided to exclude Russian athletes.
Other sports, such as swimming, cycling, and auto racing, have not followed the IOC’s recommendation to ban Russians.
FINA, the swimming’s governing body said Tuesday that it would allow Russian and Belarusian swimmers “as neutrals”, competing under the FINA flag with the FINA song.
Russia will host the December world short-course championships. FINA announced that it had withheld a federation award to Putin in 2014.
Russian riders will be allowed to participate as neutrals in cycling, but sponsors and Russian and Belarusian teams will not be permitted. The FIA, an international body for auto racing, stated that Russian drivers such as Nikita Mazepin are still eligible to compete. However, a ban on cars being painted in national colors would prevent Mazepin’s Haas team from bringing back its Russian flag-stripe livery, which it had removed after last week’s testing. Friday’s Russian Grand Prix was removed from the schedule.
The World Games, an 11-day multisport competition that will be held in Birmingham, Alabama this summer, has banned officials and athletes from Russia and Belarus. It features sports and disciplines not on the Olympic Program. The organizers claimed they were following the IOC’s guidance, which supports the World Games.
Russia and Belarus sent more than 150 athletes together to the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw (Poland), which took place in 2017.
Russian athletes are already in China to compete at the Winter Paralympics. They open on Friday. After the IOC granted an exemption for events that start at short notice, they are expected to compete as RPC. Although the Ukrainian team has not yet arrived in Beijing organizers stated that they expected their athletes to arrive on time.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee opposes Russia’s participation.
The USOPC stated in a statement that “as the world watches in horror as Russia brazenly attacks innocent people and athletes in Ukraine, this action is the only acceptable to be taken until peace is restored.”
Russians lead the governing bodies for three Olympic sports, fencing, boxing and shooting. Only shooting has prevented Russian athletes from competing.
Alisher Usmanov (billionaire president of International Fencing Federation) said Tuesday that he would suspend the exercise of his duties “until justice is restored” after being sanctioned from the European Union.
Some sponsors and companies have also cut ties due to the invasion. Adidas, which made the Russian national soccer team jerseys said that it would suspend its partnership with the Federation immediately.