On June 11, 2023, the ISU released the long-awaited announcement pertaining to the current ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes. This comes after the review of recommendations on March 28, 2023, from international federations on the possible participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport for international competition.
“The International Skating Union (ISU) has supported the Skating Federations of Ukraine since the start of the war, implementing ISU Communication 2469, and also granting financial support to assist Ukrainian Skaters,” read the statement. “The ISU reiterates its sympathy for and solidarity to all affected by the War in Ukraine. The ISU maintains its condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.”
The statement went on to say that the “Council will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and its impact on the ISU activity as well as the decisions and their implementation within the Olympic Movement. In the meantime, ISU Communication 2469 remains in force.”
Olympic ice dance champion Tatiana Navka, wife of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, was not amused.
“Stupidity and injustice,” she told sport-express.ru. “Once again, they show that people use sports to achieve some of their goals. It was hoped that reason would prevail. But, apparently, no.”
Renowned Russia coach Tatyana Tarasova is also “outraged.”
“The decision is unfair!” she said. “With what tools will we be able to return to the international arena? I think we should have people who protect us. But I do not think that the fall in ISU revenues will somehow contribute to our return.”
Olympic silver medalist Ilya Averbukh in turn, considers the ISU’s decision harmful to the development of world figure skating, according to sport-express.ru.
“I had no illusions about adult athletes,” he said. “As for the juniors, there was a secret hope that our junior team, which needed international competitions, would perform. Very disappointed with this decision. I consider it absolutely illegal and harmful to the development of world figure skating! This is a short-sighted decision. In this situation, everything will gradually come to stagnation.”