ISU bans Russian, Belarusian athletes from competition

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The International Skating Union, which governs figure skating around the world, has banned Russian athletes from competing in international ice skating competitions. The move comes a day after athletes were barred from soccer and hockey competitions.

The announcements come on heels of the International Olympic Committee calling on sport organizers to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competition “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”

In a statement, the ISU’s council reiterated “its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country.”

As a result, no athletes from Russia or Belarus “shall be invited or allowed to participate” in events until further notice.

Belarus has been a key ally of Russia during its attack on Ukraine.

The world figure skating championships are scheduled to take place later in March in France. As a result of the ISU’s decision, Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and 15-year-old Russian teammate Kamila Valieva will be excluded from competition. Valieva was at the center of a still-unresolved doping incident at last month’s Winter Olympics.

The IIHF, meanwhile, has suspended all Russian and Belarusian teams from competition “in every age category.” Under current conditions, Russian teams would be barred from the 2022 U18 Women’s World Championships and the 2022 Women’s World Championships.

FIBA has barred athletes from participating in FIBA basketball and 3×3 basketball competitions “until further notice.” It’s unclear if that includes the upcoming EuroLeague playoffs.

While the International Ski Federation has decided to continue allowing Russian athletes to compete, the Norwegian Ski Federation has said it will block Russians from competition in its country. The upcoming World Cup events are set to be hosted in the country.

The sport of swimming has said it would allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals under the FINA flag and with the FINA anthem. Russia is still scheduled to host the upcoming world short-course championships in December.

The status of Russian track athletes remains unknown. The world indoor championships are scheduled for this month in Serbia. While the country is suspended from the sport for doping, many Russian athletes compete as “neutral” athletes without a flag or national emblems.