GENEVA — More and more sports are following the International Olympic Committee’s call to ban Russian athletes from competing following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia was banned from participating in international ice skating and skiing competitions on Tuesday, a day after being expelled from competitions in football and hockey, Vladimir Putin’s favorite team sport. The decisions follow the IOC’s request to international sports federations to exclude Russian athletes from the events they organise.
The International Skating Union, the body that governs the sport globally, said no athletes from Russia or Belarus “will be invited or permitted to participate” in any events until further notice.
“The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our hearts go out to all the Ukrainian people and country,” the ISU said in a statement.
Belarus has been a key Russian ally in its attack on Ukraine.
The World Figure Skating Championships are scheduled for later this month in Montpellier, France. The ISU decision means Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and her 15-year-old teammate Kamila Valieva, who was at the center of a still unresolved doping dispute at last month’s Winter Olympics, will be barred from competition .
In Norway, Russian cross-country skiers were returning home after being barred from competition by the International Ski Federation, known as FIS.
The decision came after a three-day standoff with Norwegian ski officials, who said they would refuse to let Russians and Belarusians race even if the governing body maintained its previous policy of allowing them to compete as as neutral athletes.
“First of all, I’m happy that FIS has made this decision,” said Norwegian Ski Federation president Erik Røste, who also sits on the governing body’s board. “Then I have to be honest and say it took too long.”
The position of the FIS changed on Tuesday morning after its president, Johan Eliasch, took part in a conference call organized by the IOC with the governing bodies of Olympic sports.
“We are leaving Norway and the international season is over for us,” Russian cross-country team coach Yuri Borodavko told Norwegian TV channel NRK.
The FIS called on its members “to support the athletes involved in their return home”.
Also on Tuesday, the International Volleyball Federation said it had stripped Russia of hosting the men’s world championships in August and September and would seek another host country or countries.
“It would be impossible to prepare and organize the World Championships in Russia because of the war in Ukraine,” the FIVB board said.
Volleyball has also suspended Russian teams and clubs from international events, while rowing and badminton have decided to exclude Russian athletes from their competitions.
The sport of swimming, however, has so far chosen to ignore the IOC’s recommendation to ban Russians. The sport’s governing body, known as FINA, said on Tuesday it would allow swimmers from Russia and Belarus to participate “as neutrals, competing under the FINA flag and with the FINA anthem. “.
The FINA website still states that Russia will host the World Short Course Championships in December.
The swimming body, however, said it had withdrawn a federation honor awarded to Putin in 2014.
Russian athletes have already arrived in China for the Paralympic Winter Games, which open on Friday. They are expected to compete as the RPC, short for Russian Paralympic Committee, after the IOC offered a possible exemption for events starting at short notice. The Ukrainian team is not yet in Beijing, but organizers said they expect the country’s athletes to arrive in time.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said it does not want the Russian team to compete in Beijing.
“As the world watches in horror as Russia brazenly attacks the innocent Ukrainian people and athletes, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace is restored,” the USOPC said in a statement.
It is unclear whether Russian track athletes will be allowed to compete in the world indoor championships this month in Serbia. The country remains suspended from sport for doping but many Russians compete as “neutral athletes” without a flag or national emblems.
The governing bodies of three Olympic sports – fencing, shooting and boxing – are headed by Russians. None have yet banned the country’s athletes from competing.
The billionaire president of the International Fencing Federation, Alisher Usmanov, said on Tuesday he would ‘suspend my duties…until justice is restored’ after being sanctioned by the European Union . The shots allowed the Russians and Belarusians to continue competing at an ongoing World Cup level in Egypt, while boxing said it would discuss the matter ‘later this week’ at a council meeting administration.
The invasion also led some sponsors and companies to cut ties. Adidas, the maker of Russian national soccer team shirts, said it was suspending its partnership with the federation with immediate effect.
Ellingworth reported from Düsseldorf, Germany.
Associated Press writer Jan Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and AP Sports writer Rob Harris in London contributed to this report.
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