The Finnish Skiing Association has accepted the Russian ski team leader Alexander Bolshunov’s apology, after he clashed with his rival, Joni Maki, during a men’s relay race on Sunday.
The controversy, which attracted a good deal of public attention, occurred during the final lap of the relay, when the Russian athlete, whose way to the finish line was blocked by Maki, angrily hit his Finnish counterpart with a ski stick before plowing into him.
Two days after the controversial clash, Bolshunov and President of the Russian Ski Association Elena Vyalbe jointly apologized for the skier’s actions, stressing that the organization “strongly values fair play in every aspect.”
The Finnish side has accepted the apology and expressed the hope that they will not face a similar situation in future.
“We have received and accepted the apology of the Russian Ski Association and Alexander Bolshunov for what happened. We want to enjoy exciting and fair ski competitions in the future without the incidents seen on Sunday, which are not part of the sport of skiing,”said Markku Haapasalmi, President of the Finnish Ski Association.
Bolshunov has finally broken his silence and commented on the incident he was involved in, explaining that he had “just wanted to talk” with his opponent and had not intended to hit him.
“When I crossed the finish line, I just wanted to talk with Maki about what had happened before the finish and why he had done all these things. My skis were very fast and, when I attempted to stop, the ski fixers got broken. I didn’t intend to plow into him – I just wanted to talk,” the skier said.