COLUMN: Will sports ever stop cozying up to strongmen?
FILE - FIFA President Gianni Infantino, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for cameras at the FIFA congress on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. In a sweeping move to isolate and condemn Russia after invading Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee urged sports bodies on Monday to exclude the country's athletes and officials from international events. The decision opened the way for FIFA, the governing body of soccer, to exclude Russia from a World Cup qualifying playoff match on March 24. Poland has refused to play the scheduled game against Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Writing reading "Glory to Ukraine" is seen on the side of the trailer of the Russian cross-country national team, in Holmenkollen. near Oslo, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. In Norway, Russian cross-country skiers, who won 11 medals at the Beijing Olympics, were heading home after being excluded from competition by the International Ski Federation, known as FIS. The decision came after a three-day standoff with Norwegian ski officials, who said they would refuse to let Russians and Belarusians race if FIS maintained its previous policy of allowing them to compete as neutral athletes. (Torstein Boee/NTB scanpix via AP)
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk to each other during their meeting in Beijing, Feb. 4, 2022. China on Thursday, March 3, 2022, denounced a report that it asked Russia to delay invading Ukraine until after the Beijing Winter Olympics as "fake news" and a "very despicable" attempt to divert attention and shift blame over the conflict. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - A Russian flag is held above the Olympic Rings at Adler Arena Skating Center during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 18, 2014. The International Olympic Committee has made a sweeping move to isolate and condemn Russia over the country’s invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)