For just over a year, Russian skaters have not been allowed to participate in World Cup competitions. However, skater Veronika Stepanova wants to return to the racing tracks at the highest level, and plans to take matters into her own hands.
She wants to organize her own competition and has invited both Swedish and Norwegian top sprinters.
"I don't think we need to wait until FIS gives us the green light again to compete internationally. There are many neutral venues that we can compete in right now. I would love to meet Kristine Stavås Skistad or any Swedish sprinter in Dubai, for example," she told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.
"Because she's talkative"
In addition to Stavås Skistad, the Russian has sent a personal invitation to Linn Svahn.
"I have sent an invitation because she is particularly talkative about us Russians," she says, but also states that she has not received a reply from Svahn.
Svahn has been clear about his opinion on Russian skaters in the international cross-country competitions. Among other things, she has stated that she planned to boycott the World Cup if Russia was allowed to participate in the championship. Then she received pushback from, among others, the head coach Jelena Välbe.
"Nothing to worry about, let them boycott. The championship loses its appeal without us," she told Sport 24 last fall.
MORE ABOUT CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Hear Linn Svahn about possible boycott before the World Championships
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Linn Svahn is highly critical of the IOC's decision to open for Russia in the 2024 Olympics. Photo: Bildbyrån