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25 Mar, 2022 15:39

‘Task of Americans is to destroy Russia’ – Olympic ice dance icon

Tatiana Navka made the comments after some US journalists gloated at Russia's absence from the World Figure Skating Championships
‘Task of Americans is to destroy Russia’ – Olympic ice dance icon

Two-time world ice dancing champion Tatiana Navka has reacted to comments from western journalists over Russia's absence at the ongoing World Figure Skating Championships, saying that Americans are tasked with destroying her homeland. 

Elite Russian skaters such as Beijing 2022 medalists Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova weren't able to take part in the world showpiece in Montpellier this week due to a ban imposed by the International Skating Union (ISU) as a response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

USA Today columnist and frequent Russia critic Christine Brennan tweeted "No Russia? No China? No problem," and elsewhere said that "few will miss them" regarding the Russian absence.

Reacting to such remarks, 2006 Turin Winter Olympics champion Navka said she believes Western journalists deliberately speak about Russian figure skaters in unflattering terms.

"Those words say everything," Navka told Sport-Express.

"The task of the Americans is to destroy Russia and China. A strong person would never say that.

"It's sport. It seems to me that with this statement she insulted herself and her entire country,” added the 46-year-old, who is a married to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. 

Navka's comment is not the first address that respected figures in Russian skating have made to western reporters.

On Thursday, legendary coach Tatiana Tarasova barked back at former Globe and Mail journalist from Canada Beverley Smith, who tweeted: "There were no triple Axels to be seen, but what a sane women's event this was, compared to the crazy drama at the Olympics," in an apparent nod to Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva's doping row at the Beijing Winter Games.

A failed test result from December showed traces of a drug used to treat angina, but only emerged once Valieva had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to gold in the team event in China. 

"Sigh of relief: no Russian skaters or judges. Love it. It wasn't the skating or sport world that really made this happen: it was the war in Ukraine," Smith crowed. 

Answering Smith through Sport-Express, Tarasova fired back: "I want to upset Beverley: we will only be gone a year, and we will return with even greater strength."

The World Figure Skating Championships will conclude on Sunday in Montpellier.

Absent top-level Russian performers including Valieva and Shcherbakova will alternatively take part in the Channel One Cup on domestic soil in Saransk, which kicks off on Friday.