Russia’s national gymnastics team coach banned from next Olympics after criticising judges

Russia’s national gymnastics team coach has been reportedly banned from the next Olympics after she criticised judges at the Tokyo games.

Irina Viner, the head coach of the Russian national team and president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation criticised the Tokyo Olympic judges who ended Russia’s winning streak in rhythmic gymnastics.

The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation barred Viner from coaching or officiating at any competitions in international gymnastics for two years.

The decision was announced yesterday after an investigation was made into her statements. Russia took the silver medal in the individual and team all-around rhythmic competitions in Tokyo.

The defeats were surprising as Russia has taken the gold since 2000 in both events.

Viner’s criticisms included suggesting that the judges were motivated by anti-Russian prejudice and called the situation a “disgrace.”

She allegedly then retaliated against an International Gymnastics Federation official from Russia who oversaw the judging at the Olympics.

She retaliated by blocking her from running for re-election and allegedly failed to cooperate with the investigation.

The FIG summarised the ruling on its website by saying Viner was found “liable for breach of the FIG rules. “It went on to say that her comments were “deemed abusive and in violation of FIG rules.”

As Russia and Belarus are currently excluded from international gymnastics over the invasion of Ukraine, the ban could amount to five years.

Viner is seen as a leading powerbroker in Russian sports. She was formerly married to billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov.

Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Chernyshenko, responded to the suspension of Viner by accusing the FIG of “discriminatory policy against Russia.”

Viner’s coaching was previously criticised in a documentary, “Over The Limit,” which followed her and gymnast Margarita Mamun as they prepared for the 2016 Olympics. The documentary showed Viner criticising Mamun heavily. Mamun ended up winning the gold medal despite her coach being criticised.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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