The international community has imposed a flurry of sanctions on Russia since the nation invaded Ukraine last week. World Taekwondo stepped up on did its part on Monday, stripping Vladimir Putin of his honorary black belt.
“World Taekwondo has decided to withdraw the honorary 9th dan black belt conferred to Mr. Vladimir Putin in November 2013,” the organization wrote in a statement, noting that his “brutal attacks on innocent lives” violates the sport’s motto of “Peace is More Precious than Triumph.”
World Taekwondo revoking Putin’s black belt isn’t the first rebuke from the world of martial arts. The International Judo Federation on Sunday suspended Putin’s honorary status as president, citing “the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine.”
Putin is a big fan of hand-to-hand combat, especially judo. He’s both practiced the sport personally (see below) and taken it in as a spectator at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Speaking of the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee on Monday recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus, which has allied with Russia as it invades Ukraine, be prohibited from competing in Olympic events. Russian athletes had previously been barred from competing under the Russian flag as a result of the nation’s history with doping but were still able to compete as members of the Russian Olympic Committee. This may no longer be the case.
The sanctions from the sports world don’t end there. FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia from competing in soccer events, including this summer’s World Cup. The International Swimming Federation canceled the world junior swim titles, which were scheduled to be held in Russia this summer. Dinamo Riga, a Latvian hockey team, withdrew from the Russian-operated Kontinental Hockey League, noting the “military and humanitarian crisis,” according to ESPN.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the longtime owner of the the English Premiere League team Chelsea, announced on Saturday that he was handing over control of the team to its charitable foundation of trustees. He’s since reportedly accepted a request from Ukraine to help broker peace talks between the two nations. Abramovich served as a governor under Putin from 2000-2008. He has owned Chelsea since 2003.
Some Russian athlete have condemned the war. Tennis star Andrey Rublev wrote “No War Please” on a camera lens on Friday after defeating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships. Hockey star Alex Ovechkin, has also weighed in. “Please, no more war,” the Washington Capitals great said on Friday. “It doesn’t matter who is in the war, Russia, Ukraine, different countries. I think we live in a world that we have to live in peace.”