SportsUkraine addresses Russia's rage over Olympic ban: "400 of our athletes were killed in the war"

Ukraine addresses Russia's rage over Olympic ban: "400 of our athletes were killed in the war"

In the picture: cemetery in Lviv.
In the picture: cemetery in Lviv.
Images source: © Getty Images | Ukrinform / Future Publishing

12:30 PM EST, December 27, 2023

On February 24, 2022, the global community watched in stunned silence as the official invasion of Ukraine by Russia's troops took place. This marked the commencement of an ongoing war. Russia seems unstoppable, pushing forward relentlessly. However, Ukraine is doing everything within its power to push back the forces of Vladimir Putin.

It's a harsh reality that numerous lives are lost daily in Ukraine. Additionally, Ukraine's infrastructure regularly faces bombardment. Experts are now certain that even if the war draws to a close shortly, it will take many years for the Ukrainian economy to recover and rebuild.

Ukraine's societal fabric is being torn apart, with sports being significantly affected as well. With the onset of the war, many athletes joined the battle. While more renowned stars managed to dodge this fate, less known athletes are dying regularly. This is substantiated by the latest reports from the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

"400 of our athletes have died in the war. We have partially or completely lost around 500 sports facilities," admitted Wadym Gutcajt, president of NOCU.

These alarming figures were made public for a purpose. They serve as Ukraine's reply to Russia's many statements - Russia is outraged that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has permitted them to participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, albeit under a neutral flag. They view this as unjust.

"They say they won't participate in the Olympics because it's unfair. But is it fair for us when we are amidst a full-scale war? We lose people every day, is that fair to us?" Gutcajt retorts.

Many Russian athletes have declared they will boycott the Paris 2024 Olympics due to the numerous sanctions imposed on them. Russians will not be allowed to compete under their own moniker, their national anthem will not be played, they cannot have any military associations, and they are barred from team sports participation.

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