Ironman and Challenge Family both have events slated to take place in Russia this summer – Ironman 70.3 St. Petersburg was announced in Dec., 2019, but the race hasn’t yet taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is slated for July 17 this year. Challenge Family announced Challenge Moscow last March, but that race also didn’t take place last year. It’s scheduled for June 26, 2022.
We reached out to both Ironman and Challenge Family today to find out what might be happening to the events in Russia based on that country’s invasion of Ukraine over the last two days. We are waiting for a statement from Ironman and will update this story once it is available. A Challenge Family source said that they were monitoring the events in Russia and Ukraine closely, but wouldn’t be making an official statement before the weekend.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has strongly condemned “the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government and the government of Belarus through its support in this.” The Olympic Truce, which was supported by consensus of all 193 UN Member States, was to begin seven days before the start of the Olympic Games and end seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games. The IOC is now urging all International Sports Federations “to relocate or cancel their sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus. In addition, the IOC EB (executive board) urges that no Russian or Belarussian national flag be displayed and no Russian or Belarussian anthem be played in international sports events which are not already part of the respective World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions for Russia.”
World Triathlon has already sanctioned Russia because of the doping issues that have plagued the country’s sport system for years. Part of that sanction means the Russian Triathlon Federation can’t host any World Triathlon events, but presumably that didn’t preclude organizations like Ironman and Challenge from putting events on in the country. The IOC doesn’t have any events planned in either country, either.
With the many western nations working together on economic sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, one would imagine there will be some pressure on both Ironman and Challenge Family to cancel its events in Russia yet again.