From ballerinas to boxers, Ukrainian sports stars register to fight Russia – POLITICO

Ukrainian athletes exchanged their rackets and gloves for Kalashnikovs and armor.

While more than 2 million people have now fled war-torn Ukraine amid a deadly Russian invasion, several famous sports faces have returned home to fight on the front lines against the Russian invaders. .

Of course, Kyiv’s fearsome mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, was there. Before entering politics, Klitschko – like his brother Wladimir – was a world heavyweight boxing champion and now he is in charge. The former giant athlete has also worked hard to keep spirits high among Kyiv’s residents, even attending the wedding of a couple defending Kyiv’s local territory on Saturday and kissing her hand. strawberry for good luck, when Russia squeezes the capital.

And Klitschkos isn’t the only Ukrainian boxer to fight outside of the green (and yellow) corner.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko is reported return traveled to Ukraine from Greece to defend Odesa, while reigning world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who defeated British boxer Anthony Joshua in London last year, also sign up to the military, saying he was “fearless.”

Although the boxers might have been more natural to fight, they were joined by a host of other sports stars as the Russian bombardment left havoc across the country.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, a Ukrainian tennis player who defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, also left his family in Hungary and enlisted in the territorial army, speech“I very much hope that I won’t have to use a gun, but if I have to, I have to.”

Winter athletes also join the fray: Biathlete and skier Dmytro Mazurchuk have lift up weapons, as well as Dmytro Pidruchny, who competed at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, to defense His hometown is Ternopil in western Ukraine. At least one Ukrainian athlete paid the ultimate price: Yevhen Malyshev, a 19-year-old former Ukrainian swimmer, was killed in the first week of the war, based on International Biathlon Union.

Ballet dancers are also coming in. Lesya Vorotnyk, a principal dancer at Kyiv’s National Opera, was envisioned wielding a Kalashnikov and wearing military gear last week – while another lead dancer, Oleksiy Potiomkin, also joined war in the capital.

Russian Rebels

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops move across Ukraine, Russian teams have been ostracized by the international sports community – while individual athletes grapple with what message to show the world. .

Some took a clear stance against the war, while others took a more muted stance as the Russian bombardment continued.

In the more frank column, Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev – the number 7 male tennis player in the world – Written on camera lens “please don’t go to war” after the semi-final in Dubai shortly after the start of the war. That message was echoed by Dynamo Moscow football player Fedor Smolov on Instagram, whose black-out “No War” post, accompanied by a Ukrainian flag, quickly went viral.

But men’s tennis number 1 and recent Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev offered something more confusing declare on their Instagram, asking for “peace in the world, peace among nations”, while top stars in Russia’s two most popular sports – football and hockey – also offered anti-war statements.

Russia national football team captain Artem Dzyuba is cautious Written last week on his Instagram that “war is scary” – but added that he is “proud to be Russian. And I don’t understand why sports people have to suffer like they are now.” Alexander Ovechkin, meanwhile, widely regarded as Russia’s greatest hockey player and a vocal supporter in Putin’s history, called Conflict is a “difficult situation for both sides [sic] and everything “and ask for “no more war”.

However, some have even given their full support to Putin’s fight. At an event in Doha last weekend, Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak record the later Z – which became synonymous with support for the Russian invasion after the letter was discovered on a Russian tank in Ukraine – on his head after winning a bronze medal. Even though face to face a long-term ban and the prospect of being stripped of his medals, Kuliak told Russian broadcaster RT, he has no regrets. From ballerinas to boxers, Ukrainian sports stars register to fight Russia - POLITICO

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