‘Initiators’ named behind Russian figure skating ban
The United States, Canada and France led a group of countries that demanded that Russia lose the right to host a figure skating Grand Prix next season, according to reports.
On Monday, the International Skating Union (ISU) announced that Russia will be stripped of the prestigious Rostelecom Cup.
"Until further notice no international competitions shall be held in Russia and Belarus. Consequently, the Rostelecom Cup 2022 in figure skating will not be included in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series of the season 2022/23," the ISU confirmed in a statement.
The Rostelecom Cup is one of six Grand Prix Series events where Russia's best skaters take part and try to qualify for the sport's most exclusive annual event, the Grand Prix Final.
During the last edition held in Sochi, 15-year-old Beijing 2022 Team event gold medalist Kamila Valieva won and set a world record.
While the ISU looks for a replacement to host the Russian leg of the competition in late November, Match TV in Russia has reported that a multi-country consortium led by the United States, Canada and France initiated the process that saw Russia stripped of the event.
This began at the World Championships in Montpellier last month, which Russian skaters were banned from as a response to the military operation in Ukraine.
According to Match TV, the three countries were joined by the likes of Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in their demands.
In addition to insisting that Russia should not be allowed to host the Rostelecom Cup, these nations also reportedly stressed that Russia should not be allowed to attend an ISU Congress in Thailand from June 6-10.
Russian representatives are still set to fly to the congress, but whether they can participate in voting and elections is thus far unknown after the ISU acknowledged opposition to their presence from 20 federation members. The ISU said a vote could be held on the matter at the beginning of its 2022 gathering in around six weeks' time.
Speaking to Match TV, figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova reacted to the "terrible news".
"Figure skating is closed in our country," lamented Tarasova, who has produced multiple Olympic champions.
"And the ISU is doing this – the body that should defend the skaters, and the coaches and the federation, which has done so much for the victories of our athletes in competitions at various levels," she concluded.