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Arctic Winter Games bans competitors from Russia due to Ukraine invasion

International comittee won’t allow competitors from Yamal region in northern Russia.
A Yamal coach watches figure skating practice during the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in Fort Smith. (NNSL)

The Arctic Winter Games International Committee has moved to suspend athletes from the far northern Yamal region of Russia from the games following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The Arctic Winter Games International Committee is deeply concerned regarding the ongoing events in Ukraine and the grave impacts on human life. We join our global partners in calling for peace,” said John Flynn the president of the international committee.

The biennial games are usually open to athletes from around the circumpolar region drawing competitors from: Canada’s territories, Northern Alberta, Northern Quebec, Alaska, Greenland and the regions of Norway, Finland and Sweden that are home to the Sami people as well as the northerly region of Russia that has been barred

The arctic games are taking a step similar to many sports organizations that have barred Russian athletes from competition in the days following the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The next Arctic Winter Games will be held from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 2023 in Wood Buffalo, Alberta. In April 2021, it was announced that the games would be delayed by a year from their planned March 2022 opening due to the uncertain situation around COVID-19.

The 2023 games will be a welcome return to competition for those athletes who are allowed to compete. There has not been an Arctic Winter Games since 2018 as the 2020 games set to be held in Whitehorse were an early victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, cancelled days before the planned start date.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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