News / Europe

Ukraine Olympic Team Members Leave Sochi in Support of Protesters

Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 20, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 20, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Reuters
— Two members of Ukraine's Olympics team decided on Thursday to pull out of the Sochi Winter Games in support of demonstrators back home after widespread anti-government protests left dozens dead and hundreds injured.
 
Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska and her coach and father Oleg Matsotskyy said they had withdrawn from Russia's first Winter Games in protest at Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and his government.
 
“I have decided not to take part in the slalom, my favorite discipline [on Friday], because of the horrible events that are happening in the capital of my Ukraine, in the Maidan [square],” the 24-year-old Matsotska told Reuters Television.
 
“My friends are there at the Maidan, people I know, close friends of mine. To go on the start line when people are dying and when the authorities broke the main rule of the Olympic competition, which is peace - I simply cannot do it.”
 
The fighting in Ukraine has left at least 50 people dead and hundreds more injured in anti-government protests and clashes with security forces.
 
Ukraine team officials and some athletes held a minute's silence in memory of the victims. Black ribbons were added to Ukraine flags hanging on the balconies of their building in the athletes' village.
 
“I am not a political person, I am totally out of politics and political parties, but I stand against these horrible actions that Yanukovich and his government are taking against our Ukrainian people,” Matsotska said. “I don't want to enter the competition under such terrible circumstances.”

Matsotska competed in the super-G and the giant slalom events, finishing 27th and 43th respectively.
 
Black ribbons
 
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the withdrawals were a matter for the Ukrainian team.
 
“I believe some of them have decided to return home and [Ukraine Olympic Committee president] Sergey Bubka has said he absolutely respects every individual's right to make their own decision,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
 
“I think his [Bubka's] view was that the team should stay but equally he respects every athlete's decision to do what they think is best in the circumstances.
 
“I know that the National Olympic Committee themselves think that the best way to show some solidarity, and show in a small way what sport can do to help in reconciliation, is for the team to remain here.”
 
He said it was not the IOC who stopped athletes from wearing black armbands on Wednesday, as they had requested, but that it had been a decision by Ukrainian officials after they met IOC officials.
 
“They weren't forbidden to wear armbands,” Adams said. “The Ukrainian NOC met with IOC officials informally yesterday. They discussed what should be done, and they reached the conclusion there were other ways of marking this moment.
 
“Some athletes have taken other views and other ways of doing things,” Adams said.
 
The country, which has won one bronze medal so far, sent 43 athletes to Sochi.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid