Russia braces for figure skating blow
Russian figure skating faces further isolation from the international community amid reports that governing body the ISU could strip the country of its right to host a Grand Prix in the 2022-23 season and even hold a vote to suspend Russia’s membership.
Russian and Belarusian skaters are already banned from all ISU competitions until further notice after a decision from the organization on March 1 in the wake of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
That step meant stars from the two countries were forced to miss the World Championships in France last month as well the ongoing World Junior Championships in Estonia.
But further sanctions could be yet to come for Russian and Belarusian figure skating, according to Match TV.
An ISU letter sent to national federations and seen by the Russian TV channel says the organization will take the step of removing the Russian Grand Prix from next season’s calendar if it receives approval.
Moreover, the ISU Board is proposing to amend its rules to allow the suspension of the membership of national federations in exceptional circumstances, Match TV adds, in light of the conflict in Ukraine.
The decision must be in the form of an emergency proposal for its approval at the ISU Congress set for June and would need 80% of member federations to vote for its inclusion on the agenda.
Representatives of 21 national federations have already demanded that the ISU prevent Russians and Belarusians from participating in its next congress, Match TV claims.
The Russian Grand Prix stage, most recently known as the Rostelecom Cup, has been a mainstay of the ISU series for decades and has been held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi.
After being forced to miss this year’s World Championships in Montpellier, numerous Russian stars including Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and world record points holder Kamila Valieva appeared at the alternative Channel One Cup in their homeland.
Some figures such as iconic coach Tatiana Tarasova lamented their absence from the World Championships, suggesting that standards at the event were dragged back 20 years without the kind of performances seen by Russia’s world-leading women’s talent.
Responding to the latest news of more anti-Russian sanctions looming on the horizon, former Olympic ice dance champion Tatiana Navka said it would bode ill for world figure skating.
“World figure skating, unfortunately, is slowly dying, no one likes that Russia is on the first steps [of the podium] in almost all areas.
“Let’s see what they will do without Russia. I think figure skating in the world will completely fold in this case,” Navka added.