Zelensky punishes Olympic hero for Russian performances
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has stripped 1992 Olympic figure skating champion Viktor Petrenko of a state grant for taking part in a Sochi show put on by former Russian ice dance star Tatiana Navka.
Ukraine's National Olympic Committee (NOC) had already condemned the Odessa-born Petrenko for performing in 'The Scarlet Flower' in the resort where Russia held the Winter Olympics in 2014, with the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation (UFSF) also canceling his membership and calling his behavior "unacceptable" as the military conflict with Russia continues.
According to reports, Petrenko has already stopped coaching Ukrainian Olympic hopefuls, and Zelensky has now gone one further by taking away his state scholarship, as announced in a statement on the presidential website.
Petrenko boasts an important role in 'The Scarlet Flower' as the father of the show's main character Nastenka, who is currently being played by Beijing 2022 Team event gold medalist Kamila Valieva.
When Petrenko was criticized by Ukraine's NOC in July, Navka vowed to defend her actor.
"We will definitely protect Petrenko, of course!" she said to R-sport.
"We will protect and support [him]. As far as I understand, Ukraine did not even take care of him, [and] does not help him in any way," she added.
In a statement that blasted Petrenko, the NOC said that it strongly condemned the 53-year-old and considered his behavior "unacceptable."
"Such behavior, [and] such an act is unacceptable for the Olympic community of Ukraine," said the correspondence on the NOC's website.
'The Scarlet Flower' is scheduled to run until the end of September in Sochi on the Black Sea coacst, and has featured other Olympic champions such as Alina Zagitova, Victoria Sinitsina and Tatiana Volosozhar.