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Business as Usual with Russian Athletics Must End

by George S Rossano



(26 Feb. 2022)  Following the closing ceremony at the Beijing Winter Games, I reminded a colleague how Russia behaved itself during the Sochi Olympics only to invade Ukraine shortly thereafter, and I asked the question, how long Russia would wait to invade Ukraine again.

Now we know the answer: four days, not even waiting for the Paralympics to end.

Following the invasion, the IOC condemned Russia for not respecting the Olympic truce, as if that would have any impact on a country that time and again has show it does not respect the rule of law, and believes only in brute force and any means to achieve its ends in any endeavor it participates in.

In response to the invasion of Ukraine the May 28, 2022 the UEFA Champions League final was today removed from being held in Russia.  Other sports governing bodies and organizations need to follow this lead, and take action against Russian sports.  Since the UEFA announcement some countries have announced they will not take the field against Russian teams in international sports, or participate in contests in Russia.  There are now calls for Russia to be thrown out of the World Cup qualifying by FIFA, the international soccer governing body.

Rather than wagging it's finger about an Olympic truce, that inflicts no real pain on Russia, the IOC should suspend Russia from participation from the Paralympics games immediately.  Further, there should be a permanent IOC rule that any nation that initiates military action during the period of the Olympic truce should be immediately banned from all participation in the Olympic movement until such time as that military action ceases.  If the Olympic movement really does fancy itself a force for peace in the world, then the idea of the Olympic truce needs to be given some teeth.

Following the lead of the UEAF, the ISU should remove Rostelcom Cup from the 2022 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and reallocate it elsewhere.  Further, no future ISU events should be placed in Russia until Ukraine is free from Russian aggression.

U.S. Figure Skating should immediately declare that Russian athletes, coaches and officials will not be allowed to participate in skating activities in the U.S., and that U.S. skaters, coaches and officials will not participate in skating events held in Russia, until Russia leaves Ukraine.  If nothing else, not sending U.S. participants to Russia is probably in the best interests of their personal safety, given the U.S. government's stand against Russia that is sure to get pushback from Russia.

Sports governing bodies should not be standing idly by at this time, and need to take a stand for what is right.