What's Buzzing:

Covering medals, Ukrainians stage silent protest

AP - Sports
Covering medals, Ukrainians stage silent protest

View gallery

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- On a podium in Russia, Ukrainian athletes cover their medals in a silent protest against the turmoil being inflicted on their country by the host country of the Paralympics.

Ukraine's team decided against boycotting the Sochi Games, which end on Sunday, despite Russian forces taking over part of their country - the Crimea peninsula - in the week before the Paralympics.

So Ukraine's athletes, who are prohibited from expressing political messages on the podium under Paralympic rules, found another way to protest.

''It is a silent protest, fighting for peace for everyone ... because the situation in Ukraine didn't change,'' Ukraine team official Nataliya Harach told The Associated Press.

Ukraine's cross-country skiing relay team covered their silver medals as Russian rivals collected their gold medals at a ceremony on Saturday.

''It is not a political protest, it's us fighting for peace,'' Harach said. ''It's a different kind of protest. We put our hands on our medals because you cannot do anything more.

''If we demonstrate some way else, if we say something, it will not be in the rules of the International Paralympic Committee. So we try to do a silent protest and because we don't want any disqualifications.''

Russian President Vladimir Putin watched part of the cross-country event where he met Ukraine's Paralympic Committee president Valery Sushkevich.

''During the meeting, they discussed how the celebration of sport, especially one like the Paralympics, cannot and shouldn't come under the influence of some or other processes on the international political agenda of the day,'' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

Sushkevich complained before the games that the Paralympic hosts ''started an intervention on the territory of a country taking part'' but said Ukraine would pull out only if the Crimea crisis escalates. Sochi's closing ceremony on Sunday will coincide with Crimea's referendum - denounced by Ukraine's government and Western nations as illegal - on whether to join Russia.

Ukraine is third in the medal standings heading into the final day of the Parlaympics on Sunday, behind Russia and Germany.

''The most difficult thing was to concentrate and work as a united and confident unit,'' said Vitaliy Lukyanenk after collecting silver with Ukraine's 4x2.5-kilometer cross-country relay team.


Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (0)
  • F1 tightens cooperation rules, clears Ferrari-Haas

    In a statement issued at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in response to questions posed by champions Mercedes, they also made clear that Ferrari would face no consequences for their work this year with the new U.S.-based Haas team. "We are … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Grief-stricken Siddle pushes Australia over the line

    Grief-stricken Siddle pushes Australia over the line

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - A 200th wicket and the winning runs were of some comfort for paceman Peter Siddle who was grief-stricken after the death of his grandmother during Australia's victory in the third test against New Zealand. Siddle … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Review controversy costly for New Zealand, captain says

    Review controversy costly for New Zealand, captain says

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum refused to blame third umpire Nigel Llong's controversial review decision for his team's loss in the third and final test against Australia but said the "frustrating" ruling … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Costa dropped but Chelsea still toothless in Spurs draw

    Costa dropped but Chelsea still toothless in Spurs draw

    Jose Mourinho dropped his main striker Diego Costa for Chelsea's Premier League visit to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but the champions still proved toothless up front as they ground out an undistinguished goalless draw at White Hart Lane. Mourinho … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • Tottenham extends unbeaten run by holding Chelsea 0-0

    Tottenham extends unbeaten run by holding Chelsea 0-0

    Tottenham extended its unbeaten Premier League run to 13 matches by drawing 0-0 against a Chelsea side showing signs of recovery but still languishing in the lower half of the standings. Feeling the effects of a long mid-week trip to Azerbaijan for … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago