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A seismic shift

Olympic Sports

March 02, 2022

The GIST: Following Monday’s major news that FIFA and UEFA were suspending Russia from all competitions until further notice, there’s now increased pressure on other sporting bodies to take swift and decisive action in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Paralympics: After initial concerns about their ability to travel to the Games (which we’ll have a full preview of tomorrow), the 20-athlete Ukrainian delegation is now expected to arrive in time for Friday’s Opening Ceremony.

  • Excellent news that would be made better by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) taking further measures against Russia and Belarus today.

Elsewhere: As of yesterday, the International Skating Union (ISU) — already at the center of different Russia-related scrutiny — has barred Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in international skating events, consistent with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recent recommendation. Finally some action.

  • Speaking of, after Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina said she would not compete at the Monterrey Open if she had to face an opponent from Russia or Belarus, the WTA suspended membership for the countries’ Tennis Federations, meaning their athletes will compete as “neutral.”
  • Svitolina went on to defeat Russian tennis player Anastasia Potapova in last night’s round of 32 matchup, and reiterated that she will donate all of her prize money to the Ukrainian army.

The bigger picture: Sporting bodies’ actions (or non-actions) aside, it’s essential to keep the human impact of this conflict in mind.