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The world's sports leagues are issuing their own restrictions on Russia

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Sports leagues are responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The National Hockey League says it's suspending relationships with business partners in Russia, and FIFA, the governing body of professional soccer, suspended Russia from the World Cup.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The International Olympic Committee is urging other events besides the Olympics to exclude Russia, as well as Belarus, the Russian-dominated state that is now a base for the attack.

MARTINEZ: But the IOC fell short of calling for Russians and Belarusians to be totally barred from the Paralympic Games, which start Friday in Beijing. Dozens of Olympic athletes signed a letter, though, urging the committee to go ahead and bar them, too.

KYLE SHEWFELT: I couldn't sign that letter quick enough.

MARTINEZ: Kyle Shewfelt is a Canadian Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics.

SHEWFELT: You're saying do as I say, not as I do by not cutting off these athletes at the Paralympic Games. You need to send them home immediately.

MARTINEZ: The open letter reads, in part, athletes in Ukraine are united by this call.

SHEWFELT: Why should there be an exception made for Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete at the Paralympic Games when some athletes are not able to even train in their environments in Ukraine because they're being bombed overnight?

INSKEEP: The World Players Association spoke up also, saying the reputation of sport can no longer be undermined by bad actors.

(SOUNDBITE OF HAMMOCK'S "I CAN ALMOST SEE YOU") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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