World ski body cancels all upcoming events in Russia

Russia will not host any more World Cup events organized by the International Ski Federation this winter, the governing body said Friday.

Alpine Canada had earlier withdrawn its athletes

Alpine Canada said some of their athletes and personal were already in Russia for a ski cross World Cup event this weekend, but its "working to secure flights out" as soon as possible. (Alexis Boichard/Getty Images)

Russia will not host any more World Cup events organized by the International Ski Federation (FIS) this winter, the governing body said Friday.

It announced the decision after a farcical attempt to hold ski cross races Friday in the Urals resort Sunny Valley one day after Russia started a military invasion of Ukraine.

Only a handful of Russians started and dozens of racers from all other countries did not take part. The non-starters included new Olympic champions Ryan Regez of Switzerland and Sandra Naeslund of Sweden.

FIS cited "the safety of all participants and to maintain the integrity of the World Cup" for calling off five scheduled events in the next month. Replacement venues are being sought.

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Alpine Canada had earlier announced its athletes would not participate in the Sunny Valley event because of the invasion. The federation said some of their athletes and personal were already in Russia, but it is "working to secure flights out of the region as soon as possible."

"We are working directly with the ministers of Global Affairs and Sport who are aware and providing support as needed," Alpine Canada said in a statement to CBC Sports.

A World Cup event in freestyle aerials was also scheduled this weekend in Yaroslavl. Women's ski jumping competitions were scheduled between March 18-27 at Nizhny Tagil and Chaikovsky. Cross-country races were due in Tyumen on March 18-20.

At Sunny Valley, just six Russians started out of 61 scheduled racers in men's ski cross qualification. Seven Russians among 24 listed starters took part in the women's event.

FIS said regarding the ski cross and aerials skiers already in Russia that it was "working closely with the involved stakeholders to ensure their quick return back home."

Norway's ski federation had already asked FIS to cancel the planned events in Russia, with its president Erik Erik Røste saying "this is bigger than sport and that sport cannot be neutral in such a situation."

Also Friday, the World Curling Federation removed this year's European Curling Championships from the Russian city of Perm.

The organization said a new host city for the event scheduled for Nov. 19-26 will be named at a later date.

with files from CBC Sports

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