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EVE MUIRHEAD: There is no such thing as Russian neutrality in sport – athletes will be heartbroken but they represent Putin and a country waging war

Russian athletes had to be banned from the Paralympics.
Russian athletes had to be banned from the Paralympics.

The Paralympics have absolutely come to the right conclusion to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes from competing in their winter Games.

It’s heartbreaking for the men and women who will have to pack their bags and have had their sporting dreams shattered through no fault of their own, but there was no other option really.

I should say – I’m sure that a very high percentage of competitors from those two countries are appalled by the war in Ukraine.

And it will be the same in every sport.

But the only thing that matters is what and who they represent – which is Vladimir Putin and his regime.

From football to curling and everything in between, there needs to be a strong stand.

Everyone knows how important sport is to Putin and this is our way of trying to make a difference.

I’ve got my first British Olympic Association Athletes’ Commission meeting in London next week and I’ve no doubt Russia will be at the top of the agenda.

Athletes are making it clear how they feel.

The idea of ‘neutrality’ just doesn’t stack up.

The Russian curlers were at the Olympics under the ‘Russian Olympic Committee’ banner because of doping scandals but it didn’t make the slightest difference.

Whenever I was asked about our game against them I just called them ‘Russia’ and I’m sure that’s what everyone was thinking back home.

The first time it actually occurred to me that there was any difference at all was when I was at the closing ceremony and an anthem I didn’t recognise played.

But really, in the grand scheme of things, they were Russian athletes, representing Russia in every way.

And in the middle of an unprovoked war, that can’t be allowed to happen.


The Hello photoshoot was great fun and we had a brilliant day at Murrayfield for the Scotland v France game.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to Six Nations games in the past but never in the Royal Box.

You get a heated seat and a blanket!

We got the chance to speak to Princess Anne, which was really nice.

And I have to say, I was seriously impressed with her husband’s curling knowledge.

He had definitely been watching a lot of games in the Olympics because he knew everything!


Time doesn’t stand still, though, and it’s been back to the day job this week.

I’m writing this week’s column between games at the Scottish Mixed Doubles championship in Perth.

I think the last time I played at the Dewar’s centre was in a club match for Dunkeld just before the Covid shutdown!

It is actually nice to get back to a bit of normality.

Athletes in minority sports are used to getting on with regular events pretty quickly after an Olympics and there being a big drop-off in the level of outside interest.

It is lovely to see people at Perth who have followed my career for years and hopefully we’ll get a few more than usual coming along to watch.

Jen and Bruce will be the favourites to win because they’ve had a lot more practice at mixed over the last few months with doubling up at Beijing.

And they are the current world champions.

But myself and Bobby ran them close for selection.

I’ve never gone into a competition with anything other than the aim of winning it and I won’t be changing now!

St Johnstone rising star Max Kucheriavyi shows his support for Ukraine during Saints v Rangers game