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28 Mar, 2022 10:17

Russian absence eased ‘tension’ at World Championships, claims ice star

The French world and Olympic champion appeared to back the International Skating Union's ban on Russian athletes
Russian absence eased ‘tension’ at World Championships, claims ice star

Newly-crowned ice dancing champion Guillaume Cizeron has said that the International Skating Union's (ISU) ban on Russian athletes, announced as a result of the attack on Ukraine, led to "less tension" at the World Championships 2022 in Montpellier.

Beijing Winter Olympic Games champion Cizeron swept to his fifth world title alongside Gabriella Papadakis at the event which finished on Sunday.

The finals took place without Russian and Belarusians as part of an ISU decision announced less than a week after the conflict began on February 24.

"I admit that the absence of Russians at the World Cup is something special," French superstar Cizeron told RTL Sport.

"They lost a lot of trust from other skaters because of the situation in Ukraine and doping... without them, there is less tension."

Cizeron could have been referencing the doping scandal which involved Russian figure skating sensation Valieva at the Games.

A day after helping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to win team gold, Valieva was announced to have tested positive for a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in a test taken at the Russian championships on December 25.

Valieva was allowed to continue skating at the Games under a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling, with a decision on whether the 15-year-old and her country will be further punished yet to be made.

Russian athletes competed as neutrals under the ROC banner at the Games because of a WADA ruling which is set to expire at the end of 2022.

A range of sporting organizations have barred Russian competitors from taking part since the conflict began, including football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA and the International Paralympic Committee.

Cizeron and Papadakis are contemplating retirement after 13 years of excelling at their exacting sport, the 26-year-old Papadakis added.

"Right now we are planning to just relax," she said. "We don't know if we want to end our career.

"This is a serious decision; we don’t want to make it too quickly and make the wrong choice."

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to note that the original comments were made by Guillaume Cizeron, and not his partner Gabriella Papadakis.