Beijing 2022 figure skating champion Anna Shcherbakova has said she received “kind messages from different countries” after being ignored by the International Skating Union (ISU) in a social media post celebrating ‘Olympic Day’.
Marking the international occasion on Thursday, the ISU shared a message that read: Let’s #MoveForPeace on Olympic Day 2022! It’s time to celebrate a day that represents sport and connects people from all over the world! Share photos of you doing your sport and be sure to tag us!”
Accompanying the text were images of gold medal-winning stars from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Men’s King Nathan Chen of the US was photographed, as were Chinese Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong.
French ice dance icons Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron also took pride of place as gold medalists at Beijing 2022.
But conspicuous by her absence was Russian women’s champion Shcherbakova, who won gold ahead of compatriot Alexandra Trusova with a riveting performance in Beijing.
Instead of Shcherbakova, bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto of Japan was introduced.
The ISU snub against Shcherbakova was soon picked up by fans, who questioned why the star should not be recognized on Olympic Day, even amid an ISU ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes due to the conflict in Ukraine.
It is very disappointing to find ISU dismissing Anna’s achievements at the Olympics just for being “politically correct”. She has shown nothing but great sportsmanship and deserves to be recognized along with the other gold metalists.
— LL (@munchieloves) June 23, 2022
On social media on Friday, the 18-year-old Shcherbakova responded by thanking fans for their recognition, something that is clearly missing from the ISU.
“I am 18 years old and 15 of them I did figure skating. I think they are all [sic] equal in sport! After a recent ISU post, I received many kind messages from people from different countries. Thank you very much! It means that sport unites anyway.” wrote the skating star.
Trying to justify its snub, the ISU told the Russian media outlet RIA Sport that it is “Supporting Olympic Day through posts on the official website and social media. The goal of this campaign is to inspire people to celebrate the power of sport through compelling sports imagery. This campaign highlights not only Olympic champions, but other active figure skaters and speed skaters as well.”
A traditional powerhouse in women’s figure skating, Russia has seen its stars sidelined from international competition after the ISU announced a blanket ban on March 1.
That meant the Russian and Belarusian skaters missed out on the World Championships in France, and will also be excluded from the 2022/23 Grand Prix season. The Russian leg of the Grand Prix series has also been scrapped.
Sports figures in Russia have pointed out that the absence of stars like Shcherbakova, Trusova and teenage world record holder Kamila Valieva will mean a significant lowering of standards on the international circuit.
Instead, Russia is likely to host its own tournaments in response to the ISU ban.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.