Following the invasion of Ukraine last year, the International Skating Union (ISU) today announced that it would continue to ban Russian and Belarusian skaters from competing.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendations were discussed before the ISU Council decided to extend the sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March that Russian and Belarusian competitors might compete again as neutral individuals as long as they did not support the conflict in Ukraine and had no military ties.
International Federations’ reactions to the recommendations have been mixed, with some choosing to keep their prohibitions.
The ISU has decided to keep Belarusian and Russian competitors from competing after three days of discussion on the matter.
“The ISU Council decided to explore the feasibility issues with regard to potential pathways to implement the IOC recommendations within ISU sports,” a statement from the ISU read.
” 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.”
The ISU also “reiterated 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 worldwide governing body added.
Due to the invasion of Ukraine, athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus were barred from ISU tournaments in April of last year.
The prohibition was extended at the ISU Congress in June 2022, however officials from the two nations were still permitted to run in elections after surviving a resolution to bar them attending the gathering.
Russian Natalia Bestemyanova, who won a gold medal in ice dancing at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, expressed her continued optimism that the ISU would reverse the ban owing to the negative financial effects.
“It was clear that the ISU was losing money, just today they published a report,” Bestemyanova told Russia’s official state news agency TASS.
“Without us, the competitions became less interesting, especially for women and in pairs.
“I hope that the situation that has developed for the ISU will affect the decision on the admission of our athletes, and they will be returned to international competitions.
“We are all waiting for this.”
The European Speed Skating and Short Track Speed Skating Championships were scheduled to be held in Russia in 2024, but the ISU decided to postpone the competition.
Prior to Sochi hosting the short track competition from January 12 to 14, Kolomna, a city close to Moscow, was slated to host the speed skating competition from January 5 to 7.
The ISU events can no longer be staged in Russia or Belarus.