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Ukrainian skier quits Sochi in protest gesture

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 20.02.2014 16:01
Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska has pulled out of the Olympic Games in protest against the bloodshed in Kiev.

Bogdana Matsotska of the Ukraine in action during the Women's Giant Slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. Photo: EPA/Justin Lane

The skier's father and coach Oleg Matsotskyy posted a message in Ukrainian on his Facebook page explaining the decision.

“Instead of resolving the conflict through negotiations (which we had hoped he would when we left for Sochi), he [President Yanukovich] has drenched the last hopes of the nation in blood,” Matsotskyy wrote.

“In solidarity with the fighters on the barricades ... and as a protest against the criminal actions made towards the protesters, the irresponsibility of the president and his lackey government, we refuse to perform further at the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014.”

Bogdana Matsotska had been due to compete on Friday in the slalom, having already participated in the women's super-G, finishing in 27th. She also came 43rd in the giant slalom.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams has denied that Ukrainian team-members were forbidden from wearing black mourning armbands.

“They weren't forbidden to wear armbands," Adams told the Associated Press.

“The Ukrainian National Olympic Committee 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, adding them some other Ukrainian athletes “have decided to return home.”

It is understood that former pole-vaulting star Sergey Bubka, currently head of Ukraine's NOC, encouraged athletes to stay.

“I think his view was that the team should stay but equally he respects every athletes' decision to do what they think is best in the circumstances,” Adams commented. (nh)

A spectator with the colours of the Ukrainian flag painted over her lips prior to the Women's Bronze Medal Game between Switzerland and Sweden in the Ice Hockey tournament at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 20 February 2014. EPA/Srdjan Suki
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