Ukraine Disowns an Olympic Champion Who Skated in Russia | Big Indy News
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Ukraine Disowns an Olympic Champion Who Skated in Russia



As Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February, Viktor Petrenko, one of Ukraine’s most visible Olympic champions, posted the message “NO WAR” to his Instagram account. Days later, Petrenko’s daughter said her father had been stranded in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, where he was taking shelter after returning from a commemoration of his 1992 Olympic figure skating title that had been held in his hometown, Odesa.

Petrenko appeared to be one of the many Ukrainian athletes who would defiantly serve as wartime ambassadors for their besieged nation. But since then, his standing as a champion has deteriorated in his native country.

In June, Petrenko announced his intention to leave the Ukrainian figure skating federation. A day later, he was provisionally expelled, a federation official said. And in July, Petrenko was formally ousted, and fired from his position as a vice president, after he participated in an ice show in Sochi, Russia.

On Monday, the office of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announced that Zelensky had stripped Petrenko of a monthly stipend given to top athletes and other Ukrainians of great achievement, citing Petrenko’s performance in Russia.

The ice show was organized by Tatiana Navka, a 2006 Olympic ice dancing champion, who is the wife of Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman. In March, the United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Peskov and Navka for their ties to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and said that Navka had a property empire worth more than $10 million.

Another skater in the show, called “The Scarlet Flower,” is Kamila Valieva, the Russian teenager whose positive test for a banned substance was made public during the Beijing Olympics in February and who bungled her final routine of the Games under the weight of international scrutiny. The show is scheduled to continue through September, though it is not clear if Petrenko is still performing in it.

In January, before the war started, Petrenko posted on Instagram that he was performing in St. Petersburg, Russia. But the Ukrainian skating federation said it was “outraged” by Petrenko’s skating in Russia after the invasion occurred.

“The former athlete made his shameful decision despite the bloody full-scale war that Russia has been waging,” the federation said in a statement, according to a translation. The deaths of thousands of Ukrainians, the statement said, “did not become an obstacle for Viktor Petrenko to go out on the ice” in Russia “and perform in the same team with the supporters of this terrible war.”

Ukraine’s Olympic Committee also denounced Petrenko’s behavior, saying it was “unacceptable” to perform “on the territory of the aggressor country, which is waging a brutal war against Ukraine.”

On Monday, Petrenko, 53, did not respond to a request for comment. His daughter, Victoria, who lives in New York, said she was at work and unable to speak with a reporter.

Galina Zmievskaya, who coached Petrenko to his gold medal and now teaches skating in Hackensack, N.J., also did not respond to a request for comment.

Anastasiya Makarova, the general secretary of Ukraine’s figure skating association, said in a WhatsApp message Monday that Petrenko wrote a letter to officials on June 21, before he skated in Russia, saying that he wanted to leave the federation.

Petrenko explained in the letter that he was spending most of his time outside Ukraine while conducting his professional skating activities, Makarova said. Petrenko spends much of his time coaching and performing in ice shows across Europe. Skating, like the rest of life in Ukraine, has been disrupted by the war.

He was provisionally expelled from the federation a day later, then formally ousted on July 9 by the federation’s council, Makarova said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know why he took part in the show” in Russia, Makarova said.

Petrenko won a bronze medal while competing for the Soviet Union at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, finishing third in the so-called Battle of the Brians won by Brian Boitano of the United States over Brian Orser of Canada.

Four years later, Petrenko won gold at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Only two months earlier, the Soviet Union had dissolved. Petrenko competed during that tumultuous period not for Ukraine but for what was called the Unified Team in Albertville, composed of athletes from former Soviet republics.

In 1994, when the Winter and Summer Games began being held in separate years, Petrenko finished fourth at the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, this time skating for the blue and yellow flag of his native Ukraine.

In the early 1990s, though, he joined an exodus of more than 100 skaters and coaches from the former Soviet Union who came to the United States to continue their careers during a period of economic chaos in Russia, when money for skating was scarce and some rinks were turned into shopping malls and automobile dealerships. Eventually, Petrenko returned to Europe to coach and skate in ice shows.

In the small, close-knit world of elite figure skating, at least one prominent Russian coach, Tatiana Tarasova, came to Petrenko’s defense for performing in Sochi. She told Tass, the Russian news agency, that Petrenko was “one of the best people I know” and that “it’s ugly that he’s forbidden” to do his job.

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The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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