What's buzzing:

Ukraine decides to compete in Paralympics in Sochi

The Associated Press
Ukraine decides to compete in Paralympics in Sochi
.

View gallery

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Ukraine will compete in the Winter Paralympics in Sochi despite Russia's military moves in Crimea.

The Ukrainian Paralympic Committee decided against boycotting the games, announcing a few hours before Friday's opening ceremony that its athletes would stay.

The decision came after discussions between Ukrainian officials and athletes over whether to pull out in light of the crisis back home and Russia's military takeover of the Crimean peninsula.

''We are staying at the Paralympics,'' Valeriy Sushkevich, president of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine, said at a news conference.

However, he added that the circumstances were far from ideal.

''I don't remember a situation when the organizing country during a Paralympics started an intervention on the territory of a country taking part,'' Sushkevich said, according to the R-Sport agency. ''I don't know what to extent the team can focus on the result now.''

The Ukrainian official said the team would leave Sochi if there is any escalation of military conflict.

''I declare should this happen we will leave the games,'' Sushkevich said. ''We cannot possibly stay here in this case.''

He said he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night to discuss the situation and request peace during the games.

Suskevich said he did not receive any guarantees but it was important that Putin agreed to listen.

Putin and IOC President Thomas Bach are expected to attend Friday's opening ceremony. Several countries have decided not to send political leaders or dignitaries to the ceremony in protest of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Ukraine's decision to compete in Sochi was welcomed by the International Paralympic Committee.

''We want sport to prevail and a full complement of teams to compete in what we are confident will be a fantastic Paralympic Winter Games,'' IPC President Phillip Craven said.

''All week the IPC has been working closely with the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee in an effort to keep them here in Sochi. The talking point of Sochi 2014 needs to be great sport and great athletes, not global politics.''

The IPC has appealed for Russia to recognize the U.N.'s Olympic Truce, which asks warring parties to cease hostilities during the Olympics and Paralympics.

About 575 athletes from 45 countries are due to compete in the 10-day Paralympics. Five sports are on the program - alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.

Ukraine has entered 23 athletes for the Sochi Paralympics. It finished fifth in the medals table at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010, with a total of 19 medals and five gold.

Ukrainian athletes chanted ''peace to Ukraine'' as they apparently walked out of a flag-raising ceremony in Sochi on Thursday night. That is now under investigation by the IPC as a possible breach of rules banning political protests.

''What we're trying to do is gather the evidence, gather the transcripts and then we will see if any steps are necessary,'' IPC spokesman Craig Spence said. ''If there was a political protest, obviously we'd be disappointed by that because we have said all week that this is about sport, not politics.''

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (1)
  • Raised-fist protesters Smith, Carlos support Kaepernick

    Raised-fist protesters Smith, Carlos support Kaepernick

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tommie Smith and John Carlos voiced their support for Colin Kaepernick and other athletes staging national anthem protests, 48 years after they raised their gloved fists on the medals stand in a symbolic protest at the Olympics. … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 13 seconds ago
  • Crosby in class by himself at World Cup

    Crosby in class by himself at World Cup

    Sidney Crosby has been surrounded by the best hockey players on the planet at the World Cup of Hockey, and still seems as if he is in a class by himself. The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar has a World Cup-high nine points - two more than anyone else … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 57 minutes ago
  • The Latest: Minnesota weather making Europeans feel at home

    The Latest: Minnesota weather making Europeans feel at home

    The Europeans are the visiting team at the Ryder Cup this year, but the weather for practice at Hazeltine National Club has felt a little like home, particularly for the team members from the British Isles. Matt Fitzpatrick, the Englishman rookie, … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
  • GK Solo has shoulder replacement surgery

    GK Solo has shoulder replacement surgery

    Suspended U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo says she has had shoulder replacement surgery. Solo was suspended for six months and her contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated last month following the Rio Olympics, where she drew criticism for … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
  • Team Europe looking for 'Miracle' in World Cup final

    Team Europe looking for 'Miracle' in World Cup final

    By Steve Keating TORONTO (Reuters) - Team Europe have faced long odds from the start of the World Cup of Hockey but they just got longer as they must sweep mighty Canada over the last two games of the best-of-three final to clinch the title. Just … More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago