Yelena Välbe, head of the Russian Cross-Country Skiing Association, has once again vehemently complained about the lifestyle of relay Olympic champion Veronika Stepanova. Dealing with the 22-year-old is “a complete waste of time,” rumbled the former athlete, who also took the IOC to heart.
Although Yelena Välbe and Veronika Stepanova have a lot in common, above all their deep appreciation for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the two Russians are probably no longer green. In an interview with “MatchTV”, the chairman of the national cross-country skiing association once again complained about her athlete in clear words.
“I will discuss neither the athlete nor the person. It’s a complete waste of time,” Välbe criticized the Beijing Olympic relay champion, with whom she had previously had arguments. You have the feeling that Stepanova does not get your words, so you don’t even want to talk about the 22-year-old, said Välbe.
“She will learn from her mistakes”
What still bothers the head of the association is Stepanova’s lifestyle, which is documented in detail on social media. Välbe believes that athletes should only focus on the sport. But in her eyes, Stepanova doesn’t do enough.
“That’s what worries me most about athletes. I share yours on many levels [Stepanovas] positions do not. I have come to terms with many things. Everyone lives their own way and believes they are right. It’s a shame, but she will learn from her mistakes,” said Välbe.
Agree to IOC terms? “That would be treason”
The former cross-country skier has a similarly clear opinion when it comes to the Russians’ return to the international sports scene. Välbe finds it an insult that Russians should only start under a neutral flag.
“Everyone should decide for themselves. But I’m sure that 99.99 percent of Russian athletes say no when it comes to signing the declaration and competing without a flag and anthem,” she explained. Should someone agree to the IOC conditions, “he would be a traitor to me who should not get any help”.