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

View Comments (0)
  • AP source: Rockies trade SS Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays

    AP source: Rockies trade SS Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays

    After all that speculation the past couple of years, the Colorado Rockies finally traded Troy Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects late Monday night in a stunning swap of star … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • LEADING OFF: Trade targets on mound; 2 newcomers arrive

    LEADING OFF: Trade targets on mound; 2 newcomers arrive

    A look at what's happening all around the major leagues today: … More »

    AP - Sports - 17 minutes ago
  • Monday Sports In Brief

    Boston's bid to host the 2024 Olympics was undercut by its own mayor, its skeptical public and, finally, leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee, who were tired of the city's ever-changing blueprint. Next, it might be time to see if there is more … More »

    AP - Sports - 19 minutes ago
  • Chand aims to qualify for Rio Olympics after CAS verdict

    Indian sprinter Dutee Chand will aim to qualify for next year's Olympic Games after a Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to suspend IAAF rules that could have blocked women with high levels of male hormones from competing in Rio de Janeiro. … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • 'Dead in water' U.S. team expects slow start in Kazan

    'Dead in water' U.S. team expects slow start in Kazan

    USA Swimming was rubbing its hands with glee when it announced a squad packed full of gold medal winners and record breakers for the 2015 world championships, but that was a year ago and the team that lands in Kazan may need time to fire on all … More »

    Reuters - 23 minutes ago