Russian Olympic Medalists Attended Putin’s Party | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Russian Olympic Medalists Attended Putin’s Party

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President Putin invited the medalists to the Beijing Olympics. The athletes were full of praise for Putin, but…

Amid the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited medalists from the Beijing Olympics to a consolation party on April 26. According to Russian media such as RBC Sports, the athletes were treated to luxury champagne and other drinks.


Among the participants was female figure skater Kamila Valiyeva. The Russian media reported on the grand party in breaking news and showed the medalists pledging their loyalty to President Putin.

Seated in the favorite’s seat closest to Putin was Anastasiya Mishina, winner of the ’16 Junior Finals (pairs). She said

 I was surprised because I thought Valiyeva would be sitting in my seat. I am happy to see the President up close than anyone else.

I thanked him. Beijing Olympics ice dance silver medalist Victoria Sinitsina was also delighted to see President Putin. In her telegram

 “Today I received a state award as a medalist. It is so exciting to be able to talk eye to eye with the President. Very exciting!

She was excited.

The event was ostensibly a celebration of the medalists, but in reality, it was “by Putin, for Putin”. It was nothing more than a performance of a great man who is respected by his people.

As evidence of this, the medalists’ expressions were 180 degrees different when the TV cameras were not rolling. A sports newspaper reporter in charge of the Olympics said, “An unpublished photo was leaked on social networking sites.

 The leaked photo went viral and shows the medalists staring blankly or with downcast eyes during the ceremony. This is completely different from what they look like in front of President Putin and the TV cameras. This must be the reality.”

Some of the medalists were absent. Anna Shcherbakova, who won gold in women’s figure at the Beijing Olympics, prioritized Coach Eteri Tutberidze’s show, which took place the same day. Alexander Bolshunov, a three-time Nordic skiing distance champion, was also absent, citing surgery.

 “The party attendees may face international criticism in the future,” said Bolshunov. Some people think that the absence of the participants may be aimed at avoiding such criticism. 

The sports world’s encirclement of Russia is becoming more and more certain. What came as a particular surprise was the tightening of sanctions by the International Skating Union (ISU).

The participation of Russian figure skaters, both male and female, among the world’s best, was thought to be commercially essential. However, the ISU reversed these expectations and announced that in addition to the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in international competitions, they would be stripped of their right to host the Grand Prix Series and expelled from the ISU Board of Directors. The ISU has imposed a severe penalty of indefinite expulsion.

According to the Russian media outlet Match TV, the 14 countries in favor of tougher sanctions are the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The number of countries is said to be 14. Japan’s stand is not clear.

In response, some figure skaters are moving to change their nationality. Polina Kostikovic, who won the silver medal in the pairs at the ’18 World Junior Championships, told the Russian media.

 “I want to go abroad. I am thinking of another federation. It will be difficult to play in Russia now.

 I want to skate on the international stage. The option of not moving is not for me. I have to understand what I want.”

She also commented on the future of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, “It will be difficult to play in Russia now. Tatyana Tarasova, a leading figure skater in Russia, said

 “Changing nationality is not a betrayal.”

She is sympathetic to the feelings of the current competitors, but many others may follow her lead in the future.

 Putin is planning to hold an international tournament with friendly countries that are not participating in the sanctions against Russia, but what is the point of that? If the aggression continues, the athletes of his country will be sacrificed as well.

President Putin is flaunting his national power, but his centripetal force is steadily weakening.

  • Photo. Reuters/Afro

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