GENEVA — More and more sports are following the appeal of the International Olympic Committee and banning Russian athletes from competing in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia was banned from competing in international ice skating and skiing events on Tuesday, a day after being kicked out of soccer competitions and hockey — Vladimir Putin’s favorite team sport. The decisions follow the IOC’s request to international sports federations to keep Russian athletes out of events they organize.

The International Skating Union, the body that runs the sport around the world, said no athletes from Russia or Belarus “shall be invited or allowed to participate” in events until further notice.

“The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country,” the ISU said in a statement.

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

The world figure skating championships are scheduled for later this month in Montpellier, France. The ISU decision means Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and 15-year-old teammate Kamila Valieva, who was the focus of a still-unresolved doping dispute at last month’s Winter Olympics, will be excluded from the competition.

In Norway, Russian cross-country skiers were heading home after being excluded from competition by the International Ski Federation, known as FIS.

The decision came after a three-day standoff with Norwegian ski officials, who said they would refuse to let Russians and Belarusians race even if the governing body maintained its previous policy of allowing them to compete as neutral athletes.

“Firstly, I am glad that FIS has taken this decision,” said Norwegian ski federation president Erik Røste, who also sits on the governing body’s ruling council. “Then I have to be honest and say it has taken too long.”

The FIS position shifted Tuesday morning after its president, Johan Eliasch, took part in a conference call hosted by the IOC with the governing bodies of Olympic sports.

“We are leaving Norway and the international season is over for us,” Russian cross-country ski team coach Yuri Borodavko told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

FIS called on its members “to support the involved athletes as they travel back to their homes.”

Also Tuesday, the International Volleyball Federation said it had stripped Russia of hosting the men’s world championships in August and September and would seek another host country or countries.

“It would be impossible to prepare and stage the World Championships in Russia due to the war in Ukraine,” the FIVB board said.

Volleyball also suspended Russian teams and clubs from international events, while rowing and badminton decided to exclude Russian athletes from their competitions.

The sport of swimming, however, has so far chosen to ignore the recommendation from the IOC to ban Russians. The sport’s governing body, known as FINA, said Tuesday it would allow Russian and Belarusian swimmers to take part “as neutrals, competing under the FINA flag and with the FINA anthem.”

The FINA website still lists Russia as hosting the world short-course championships in December.

The swimming body, however, said it had withdrawn a federation honor awarded to Putin in 2014.

Russian athletes have already arrived in China for the Winter Paralympics, which open Friday. They are scheduled to compete as RPC, short for Russian Paralympic Committee, after the IOC offered a possible exemption for events starting at short notice. The Ukrainian team isn’t yet in Beijing, but organizers said they expect the country’s athletes to arrive in time.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said it doesn’t want the Russian team to compete in Beijing.

“As the world watches in horror while Russia brazenly attacks the innocent people and athletes of Ukraine, this is the only acceptable action to be taken until peace has been restored,” the USOPC said in a statement.

It’s unclear if Russian track athletes will be allowed to compete at the world indoor championships this month in Serbia. The country remains suspended from the sport for doping but many Russians compete as “neutral athletes” without a flag or national emblems.

The governing bodies of three Olympic sports — fencing, shooting and boxing — are led by Russians. None has yet barred the country’s athletes from competing.

The billionaire president of the International Fencing Federation, Alisher Usmanov, said Tuesday he would “suspend the exercise of my duties … until justice is restored” after being sanctioned by the European Union. Shooting has allowed Russians and Belarusians to keep competing at an ongoing World Cup event in Egypt, while boxing said it would discuss the issue “later this week” at a board meeting.

The invasion has also led to some sponsors and companies cutting ties. Adidas, the maker of the Russian national soccer team jerseys, said it was suspending its partnership with the federation with immediate effect.


Ellingworth reported from Düsseldorf, Germany.


Associated Press writer Jan Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in London contributed to this report.


More AP sports: and—Sports

Source link