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‘I will support the guys’: Restrictions in Japan halt ice queen Medvedeva going to Tokyo as ambassador to Russia at 2020 Olympics

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Figure-skating great Evgenia Medvedeva has announced that she will not be traveling to Tokyo with Russia’s olympic athletes, admitting that a trip would be “meaningless” because of the tight Covid-19 restrictions around the games.

Two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist Medvedeva had hoped to work closely with Russian stars during their time in Japan, only to be thwarted by recent new measures introduced by the International Olympics Committee and local and national governors in response to increasing Covid-19 infection rates.

The 21-year-old has now admitted defeat in her bid to fulfil her ambassadorial roles in person, making a joint decision not to accompany the team that she described as “not easy”.

“Until recently, I sincerely hoped that the situation would still allow me to stay close to our team in Tokyo,” the team and singles runner-up at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang told the Russian Olympics Committee [ROC].

“Everyone knows how much I wanted to support the guys and how [much I think] of Japan, but the restrictions imposed make the trip meaningless.

“My role at the games is to personally support athletes, participate in ceremonies in the Olympic Village,and communicate with fellow Olympians.

“But now taking care of the health of each of us and minimizing contacts between athletes at the Games with anyone else requires maximum responsibility.

“Understanding the general concern about the ongoing pandemic, we made this decision. I will wholeheartedly support the guys from Russia, and I wish Japan to hold a successful games, regardless of the circumstances.”

The already-beleaguered games suffered the huge blow of having to entirely outlaw fans from attending under the new restrictions announced last week, which came amid a state of emergency being declared in Japan.

“Unfortunately, the situation now is such that at the games in Tokyo, the possibilities of holding additional formal events and meetings with athletes are minimized,” added Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee [ROC].

“The health of the participants in the games is paramount, and security protocols impose a large number of restrictions.

“I am sure that [Medvedeva] will cope with the role of the Ambassador of the ROC Team, supporting athletes with media resources.

“After Tokyo, we will discuss the continuation of co-operation with our famous athlete, who is known all over the world.”

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