Figure skating competitions ‘easier’ with Russians banned

Figure skating easier Russians banned
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Figure skating competitions ‘easier’ with Russians banned

Figure skating legend Irina Rodnina shared her thoughts after comments from French star Gabriella Papadakis

Figure skating icon Irina Rodnina says it is a “fact” that international competitions are easier in the absence of Russian stars, after French world champion Gabriella Papadakis claimed “tensions” are removed when Russian athletes are banned.

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Papadakis, 26, recently picked up a fifth ice dancing world title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Montpellier, doing so in the absence of Russian athletes who have been barred due to their country’s military offensive in Ukraine.

“They lost a lot of trust from other skaters because of the situation in Ukraine and doping… Without them, there is less tension,” said Papadakis in comments reported by Match TV.

Rodina, who won successive golds at three editions of the Olympic Games from 1972 to 1980, said those comments betrayed the notion that it would inevitably be easier for Russia’s rivals in the current climate.

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Russian absence eased ‘tension’ at World Championships, claims ice queen

“She honestly said that it’s easier without the Russians… Papadakis said everything clearly: it is easier to perform without Russians or other athletes. This is a fact,” said the 10-time world champion, who now serves as a State Duma Deputy.

Fellow former Russian figure skating star Evgeni Plushenko said Papadakis and others had been “brainwashed” into thinking all Russians are bad.

“The World Championship without Russian skaters is incomplete,” said the double Olympic champion, according to Sport-Express.

“The strong have always been feared and treated with prejudice. We do not need to pay attention to these attacks, but to pull together.” 

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The World Championships in Montpellier saw the absence of Russian women’s stars such as Olympic gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova, world record holder Kamila Valieva, and ‘quad queen’ Alexandra Trusova.

Papadakis and partner Guillaume Cizeron broke the world record to clinch the ice dance title, adding to the Olympic gold they won in Beijing last month ahead of Russian duo Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, who were also missing in France. 

After being forced to miss the World Championships in France, Russian stars appeared at an alternative domestic event, the Channel One Cup, which was held in Saransk at the same time.

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The exhibition competition featured Olympic queen Shcherbakova and fan favorite Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, and marked a comeback for Valieva after her Olympic dream turned sour in Beijing.

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