Figure skating-Ukraine asks ISU for full Russian ban until end of war

By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

GENEVA (Reuters) – The athletes commission of the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation has called on the sport’s international governing body to back a full ban against Russian figure skaters and officials until the end of the Ukraine invasion.


In a letter seen by Reuters, figure skater Anna Khnychenkova, chair of the Ukrainian federation’s athletes commission, said Russians’ participation “in any status or form” in events sanctioned by the International Skating Union (ISU) was unacceptable.

“We are hopeful that the athlete committee will support our initiative of full and entire ban of Russian athletes and officials at all ISU international sanctioned events until the end of the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine,” she wrote.

The letter was dated May 15 and addressed to Canadian figure skater Eric Radford, chair of the ISU athletes commission, and its other members.

In the wake of the invasion, most international sports federations — including ISU — adopted recommendations by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus.

But in March, the IOC issued a new guidelines for a gradual return to international competitions by Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals. IOC President Thomas Bach said their participation “works” despite the war in Ukraine.

Former figure skater Oksana Baiul-Farina, who won Ukraine’s first Olympic gold medal after it gained independence from the Soviet Union, told Reuters last month she does not want to see Russians compete as long as her country is at war.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Toby Davis)