Since March 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian skiers have been banned from all international ski competitions.

Russian star Veronika Stepanova, 22, has previously been critical of the International Ski Federation's decision to ban Russian skiers, calling it "hypocritical."

On Wednesday, the decision was made that FIS extends the suspension of Russian and Belarusian skiers.

Stepanova, who has an Olympic gold medal in relay and five junior and U23 World Championship medals, has lost hope that it will work out.

"Fis is trying to do some balancing act, but it mostly looks like they are putting the problem in front of them and they are certainly hoping that the situation will 'resolve itself'. I don't think so, not anymore, she says to SVT Sport and continues:

"Let me be clear, we will either come back as equals, or we will not come back at all.

"You can ski as much as you want without us"

She also points out that there is a ski world outside Scandinavia.

By equivalent, I mean first and foremost without any 'election committee' that would have the right to question my political views and form of employment.

"Don't you like that? Yes, the world is much bigger than Scandinavia. You can ski as much as you want without us, we do the same," she says.

Can you understand that you are suspended and that athletes from other countries think it is right?

"I'm okay with people thinking, saying or doing things as long as it's not illegal. The fact that they have different opinions does not bother me in the slightest. You can disagree as long as you have respect for each other.