The Russians’ butter trailer, which was parked in Holmenkollen, was spray-painted with Ukrainian flags and slogans on Wednesday evening.
– Now it’s not safe there, our trailer was stained with paint. The behavior of the Norwegians is very outrageous. I am shocked by this, the Russian star told MatchTV upon arriving at Moscow airport on Thursday.
The Russians opted to return home after the Norwegian Ski Association said on Tuesday they did not want Russians in the World Cup in Norway. The FIS then decided that Russians would not be allowed to participate in international competitions for security reasons.
Embossing service manager
NRK met a clearly identified Russian service manager, Urmas Välbe, after the incident at Holmenkollen. He did not hide the fact that he had been injured in the vandalism.
– We are all very sad, says Urmas Välbe, who held back tears during a meeting with NRK.
Part of the Russian national cross-country team therefore had to spend the morning washing the trailer. One of them was Estonian Välbe, who works in the service team of the Russian national team.
The Russian lubrication team confirms to NRK that they reported the vandalism to the police.
– How do you feel today?
– Not very good, says Välbe, who takes long pauses to recover between answers.
– How did you react to the vandalism?
– People can do whatever they want. There are different people everywhere, so that’s fine.
The service manager describes a depressed mood in the Russian tenant that the national team was first banned from competitions in Norway, before the International Ski Federation denied them participation in international competitions in the future.
– We knew this could happen. I am sorry on behalf of practitioners. I’m an old man, I can go home. But the young athletes go home, they are not allowed to compete, maybe not next year either. This is madness. It’s a very bad situation, says Välbe.
Receives support from Norwegian athletes
Canadian national team coach Eric de Nys told NRK the butter trailer looked in perfect condition when they left the area on Tuesday evening.
– Now, in the meantime, he’s been tagged. I understand why.
More sympathy can be found in several winter sports profiles in Norway. The two biathletes Tiril Eckhoff and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold have compassion for Russian athletes.
– I think it’s damn sad. It’s sort of a top team position. I have nothing against Russian practitioners. That’s what gets so stupid, so childish, Eckhoff tells NRK.
His teammate also reacted strongly to the provocation and vandalism of the Russian butter trailer.
– I think it’s reprehensible that someone thinks it’s a good idea. May he help in this war that is. Again, feel free to call me naive, but I think this is Putin’s war. I don’t think it’s the war or the wish of Russian biathletes or cross-country skiers, Tandrevold told NRK.
The biathlon profiles are supported by British cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave.
– I am in favor of sanctions against Russia as a country, exclusion from sport included. Nevertheless, I have some sympathy for the athletes of the Russian team. Several of them expressed their opposition to the war in Ukraine.
Musgrave points out that practitioners know nothing of their birthplace.
– Even practitioners who have chosen to remain silent deserve to be treated with respect.
Alexander Stöckl expressed to NRK on Tuesday his dissatisfaction with the threatening messages Russian practitioners have received recently and called the trend “terrible”.