News / Europe

No Celebration for Ukraine's Gold Olympic Medal

Ukraine's relay team, from left: Vita Semerenko, Juliya Dzhyma, Olena Pidhrushna and Valj Semerenko, with Ukrainian flag with writings on it after winning the gold in the women's biathlon 4x6k relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 21, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana.
Ukraine's relay team, from left: Vita Semerenko, Juliya Dzhyma, Olena Pidhrushna and Valj Semerenko, with Ukrainian flag with writings on it after winning the gold in the women's biathlon 4x6k relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 21, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana.
Reuters
Ukraine's second Winter Olympic Games gold medal will not be celebrated as the country's Sochi team sticks together amid deadly clashes in anti-government demonstrations in Kyiv.

Vita and Valj Semerenko, Olga Pidhrushna and Juliya Dzhyma won the women's relay on Friday to give Ukraine their first Winter Olympic title since figure skater Oksana Baiul won the women's individual title in 1994.

"We will not celebrate because it's not time for celebration, we will be peaceful it's a very sad moment for our nation and our team belong to the nation, we're all together," Segey Bubka, head of Ukraine's National Olympic Committee, told reporters with tears in his eyes.

"It's historical because we have a very difficult moment in our country and of course it was not easy for us to focus and continue the competition," the former pole vault champion said.

Bubka met with the relay team to help them stay focused on sport after the demonstrations in their homeland left more than 70 people dead.
"I gave them psychological advice," he explained.

"We [the Ukrainian delegation] had meetings and we had a special meeting two days ago. We discussed how we will manage the pressure and the difficulties."

It was important to stay at the Games to show support to Ukraine, Bubka said.

"We decided all together we will continue because we would like to raise the flag and hear the Ukrainian national anthem," he added. "It's the best way to support our people, to support our nation."

Asked if the fact that Friday's victory happened in Russia meant anything, Bubka, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said: "It's the Olympic Games it's not politics."

Politics did come into play on Thursday, however, when Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska and her coach and father said they had withdrawn from Russia's first Winter Games in protest at Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich, who enjoys Moscow's backing, and his government.

"It's only one athlete, no one left," said Bubka.

"We have 55 people here, all our delegatipon is here, only the athletes who have finished their competitions who planned because of the flight to leave, they left.
"No one else, no one else. They decided not to participate in the slalom. I had a meeting with them and we discussed, we understand their position but they stay with the team," he added.

"And we leave after the closing ceremony together."

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs