Because of the war of aggression against Ukraine, the upcoming cross-country skiing winter will most likely take place without Russian participation. From there come adventurous ideas how to compensate for the exclusion from all FIS events.
The 2006 Olympic champion, Yevgeny Dementyev, has now suggested that Russia could invent “its own Russian World Cup” that would in future compete with the existing competitions.
“One possibility would be to set up a league system like in ice hockey. In order to be successful with that, we have to make it palatable for foreign athletes to want to come to Russia,” the 39-year-old is quoted as saying by “Eurosport”.
Dementyev, a gold medalist at the Turin Olympics, is sure that athletes from abroad would accept the Russian competitor’s product.
He even believes that top athletes like the Norwegian Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo could be convinced. Last winter’s overall World Cup winner had repeatedly appeared as a determined critic of Russia and had supported the exclusion of Russian athletes.
Cross-country Zoff between Russia and Norway
Meanwhile, Dementyev stressed that he believed it was all just a question of money. “One million will change Klaebo’s attitude towards Russia!” he is certain.
In the past few months, there have been violent verbal arguments between the Russian and Norwegian athletes in particular.
After some hesitation, the FIS reacted to the war in Ukraine at the beginning of March and banned all athletes from Russia and Belarus from skiing.
Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine on February 24 with the help of Belarusian forces. Since then, the aggressors have been waging a war of aggression against the neighboring country in violation of international law.