As Russia started its invasion of Ukraine in February, Viktor Petrenko, one among Ukraine’s maximum visual Olympic champions, posted the message “NO WAR” to his Instagram account. Days later, Petrenko’s daughter mentioned her father were stranded in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, the place he was once taking safe haven after getting back from a commemoration of his 1992 Olympic determine skating name that were held in his place of origin, Odesa.
Petrenko seemed to be one of the most many Ukrainian athletes who would defiantly function wartime ambassadors for his or her besieged country. But since then, his status as a champion has deteriorated in his local nation.
In June, Petrenko introduced his aim to depart the Ukrainian determine skating federation. An afternoon later, he was once provisionally expelled, a federation authentic mentioned. And in July, Petrenko was once officially ousted, and fired from his place as a vice chairman, after he participated in an ice display in Sochi, Russia.
On Monday, the administrative center of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, introduced that Zelensky had stripped Petrenko of a per 30 days stipend given to most sensible athletes and different Ukrainians of significant success, bringing up Petrenko’s efficiency in Russia.
The ice display was once arranged by way of Tatiana Navka, a 2006 Olympic ice dancing champion, who’s the spouse of Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman. In March, the United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Peskov and Navka for his or her ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and mentioned that Navka had a belongings empire value greater than $10 million.
Another skater within the display, referred to as “The Scarlet Flower,” is Kamila Valieva, the Russian youngster whose certain check for a banned substance was once made public all the way through the Beijing Olympics in February and who bungled her ultimate regimen of the Games underneath the load of global scrutiny. The display is scheduled to proceed thru September, although it’s not transparent if Petrenko continues to be appearing in it.
In January, sooner than the struggle began, Petrenko posted on Instagram that he was once appearing in St. Petersburg, Russia. But the Ukrainian skating federation mentioned it was once “outraged” by way of Petrenko’s skating in Russia after the invasion came about.
“The former athlete made his shameful decision despite the bloody full-scale war that Russia has been waging,” the federation mentioned in a commentary, in step with a translation. The deaths of hundreds of Ukrainians, the commentary mentioned, “did not become an obstacle for Viktor Petrenko to go out on the ice” in Russia “and perform in the same team with the supporters of this terrible war.”
Ukraine’s Olympic Committee additionally denounced Petrenko’s conduct, announcing it was once “unacceptable” to accomplish “on the territory of the aggressor country, which is waging a brutal war against Ukraine.”
On Monday, Petrenko, 53, didn’t reply to a request for remark. His daughter, Victoria, who lives in New York, mentioned she was once at paintings and not able to talk with a reporter.
Galina Zmievskaya, who coached Petrenko to his gold medal and now teaches skating in Hackensack, N.J., additionally didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Anastasiya Makarova, the overall secretary of Ukraine’s determine skating affiliation, mentioned in a WhatsApp message Monday that Petrenko wrote a letter to officers on June 21, sooner than he skated in Russia, announcing that he sought after to depart the federation.
Petrenko defined within the letter that he was once spending maximum of his time outdoor Ukraine whilst undertaking his skilled skating actions, Makarova mentioned. Petrenko spends a lot of his time training and appearing in ice displays throughout Europe. Skating, like the remainder of lifestyles in Ukraine, has been disrupted by way of the struggle.
He was once provisionally expelled from the federation an afternoon later, then officially ousted on July 9 by way of the federation’s council, Makarova mentioned. “Unfortunately, I don’t know why he took part in the show” in Russia, Makarova mentioned.
Petrenko gained a bronze medal whilst competing for the Soviet Union on the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, completing 3rd within the so-called Battle of the Brians gained by way of Brian Boitano of the United States over Brian Orser of Canada.
Four years later, Petrenko gained gold on the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Only two months previous, the Soviet Union had dissolved. Petrenko competed all the way through that tumultuous duration no longer for Ukraine however for what was once referred to as the Unified Team in Albertville, composed of athletes from former Soviet republics.
In 1994, when the Winter and Summer Games started being held in separate years, Petrenko completed fourth on the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, this time skating for the blue and yellow flag of his local Ukraine.
In the early Nineteen Nineties, although, he joined an exodus of greater than 100 skaters and coaches from the previous Soviet Union who got here to the United States to proceed their careers all the way through a duration of financial chaos in Russia, when cash for skating was once scarce and a few rinks had been changed into buying groceries department stores and automotive dealerships. Eventually, Petrenko returned to Europe to train and skate in ice displays.
In the small, close-knit global of elite determine skating, no less than one distinguished Russian trainer, Tatiana Tarasova, got here to Petrenko’s protection for appearing in Sochi. She advised Tass, the Russian information company, that Petrenko was once “one of the best people I know” and that “it’s ugly that he’s forbidden” to do his process.