Skiing prodigy Veronika Stepanova took offense at the restrictive “recommendations” rolled up for her compatriots
Olympic cross-country skiing champion Veronika Stepanova has slammed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its “recommendations” on Russian athletes, suggesting the body should “go to hell.”
Among other things, the IOC has urged International Federations (IFs) to set up special commissions to analyze public statements by Russian athletes, barring anyone who had somehow shown support for Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine from competing.
Stepanova, the Beijing Winter Olympics champion in 4x5km women’s relay, said the provision was completely unacceptable.
“Won’t you go to hell with all your conditions and recommendations, dear IOC? I will not let any ‘international commission’ analyze my views and beliefs, and decide whether to let me go to the World Cup. Go and race yourselves then. And I can just repeat what I’ve been saying for this whole year: We will overcome all difficulties. Certainly and without a doubt,” Stepanova wrote in a Telegram post.
The 22-year-old skiing star has been very vocal on the attitude towards Russian athletes exhibited by the international sporting bodies, criticizing the IOC itself, as well as the organizers of the Blink festival in Norway. She has also sparred with Western media over what she perceives to be the unfair treatment of Russians in foreign media.
The IOC unveiled a set of “recommendations” on Russian and Belarusian athletes earlier in the day. While enabling them to compete as neutrals, the body barred them from team competitions, as well as disqualified those linked to the militaries of the two countries or any of their security agencies.
The conditions have already been rejected by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), with its boss, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, slamming them as “unreasonable, legally void and excessive” and suggesting they actually breach the IOCs own principles and potentially amount to human rights abuse.