Norway’s skiing federation bars Russians from competing in its country
Russian skiers are not welcome to compete in Norway because of “violations of international law and attacks on the Ukrainian people,” the Nordic country’s ski federation said Saturday.
Norway’s call directly contradicts International Ski Federation (FIS) policy announced late Friday and comes days after the winter sport power topped the Beijing Olympics medal table with a record 16 golds. The final men’s medal ceremony in Beijing saw Russian and Norwegian cross-country skiers share the podium in the Bird’s Nest stadium.
The Norwegian plea was also made days before Kvitfjell and Oslo host World Cup races in Alpine and cross-country skiing next weekend and while the country co-hosts the junior world championships in Nordic ski disciplines.
Poland’s refusal to play its World Cup qualifier against Russia gains wider support as Sweden declares it also will not play the Russians.
“The Norwegian Ski Federation’s message to Russia and Russian athletes is crystal clear: We do not want your participation!” it said in a statement.
Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine that began Thursday requires “international condemnation and sanctions,” the Norwegian federation said.
“Sport is not detached from this and cannot remain passive to what is happening now,” the statement said, promising to lobby the sport’s world governing body.
On Friday, FIS pulled its remaining World Cup events this season from Russia but later said Russians could continue competing.
Ukrainian forces and armed volunteers fought fiercely to maintain control of Kyiv against Russian troops as explosions and gunfire shook the city.
“The athletes will continue to compete under their name and the country of Russia, albeit the FIS flag and FIS anthem will be used in all official capacities, including ceremonies,” the Switzerland-based ski body said.
A ban on using Russia’s flag and anthem was urged Friday by the International Olympic Committee, which also asked sports bodies to move or cancel events scheduled in Russia.
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