Will Ironman and Challenge Cancel Their Russia Events? – Triathlete

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On Friday, the International Olympic Committee called for all sporting events to be canceled or relocated from Russia and Belarus. This came three days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the start of military operations and a full-scale war invading Ukraine.

World Triathlon (formerly ITU) quickly followed suit with a statement that “strongly condemned” Russian military actions. “World Triathlon stands in absolute solidarity with the Ukraine triathlon family and the entire country at this time of grave international crisis,” reads the statement, before going on to urge any triathlete trying to leave Ukraine or any family willing to host those athletes to reach out to an email set-up specifically to help coordinate : welcome@triathlon.org.

A spokesperson confirmed that while the outpouring of people willing to host Ukrainian families has been “overwhelming,” they have not yet had requests for assistance from any Ukrainian athletes, officials, or staff. It is understood there have been challenges leaving the country, said the spokesperson

However, it was not necessary for World Triathlon to cancel events in Russia—because they had already been canceled.

World Triathlon had previously placed sanctions against the country due to “the significant number of doping sanctions in Russia.” Part of those sanctions included Russian officials resigning from all World Triathlon and European Triathlon boards and the country being banned from hosting any events for one year, starting in December 2021. There are, of course, other races planned in the greater region—and officials said they were keeping an eye on the situation to ensure the safety of all athletes involved.

So that leaves the question: Will the other triathlon organizations (namely Challenge Family and the Ironman Group) cancel their planned events in Russia?

Both organizations have new races planned for the country later this year, in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Neither company currently has plans to cancel those races.

Last year, Challenge announced its first Russian event in Moscow. After being canceled due to COVID in 2021, the inaugural Challenge Moscow is scheduled to take place June 26, 2022. While the race is not currently listed on the Challenge Family’s race schedule, registration is still open and Challenge did not respond to requests for comment . The Challenge Moscow Facebook page has also posted strong messages against the war.

One people, one history, one pain. We are together with Ukraine. We are against war. We will do everything that the…

Posted by ChallengeMoscow on Thursday, February 24, 2022

Ironman’s St. Petersburg 70.3 is scheduled for July 17, 2022—and an Ironman official confirmed they are monitoring the situation, but have no updates at this time. Impacted athletes will be notified once next steps are determined.

“We are carefully monitoring the troubling and unsettling situation in Ukraine, while also working through the evolving guidance from the relevant governmental authorities and governing bodies and federations,” said Ironman, in a statement.

In 2020, the race in St. Petersburg was set to be the first-ever Ironman-brand event in Russia, but was canceled due to COVID. It went ahead in 2021 and Putin was, reportedly, on hand to greet the victors.

While there are other domestic races scheduled for both Russia and Ukraine, those are the only major international triathlons currently planned. Although the funder and co-founder of Super League Triathlon, Leonid Boguslavsky, is a Russian oligarch understood to have close ties with Putin, there are not currently any SLT events planned for Russia nor any expected impact.

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