A Ukrainian skier has left the Olympics in response to the violence in her country, with her father saying she did so in ‘solidarity with the fighters’.
The International Olympic Committee confirmed the withdrawal of Bogdana Matsotska on Thursday, and the Alpine skier’s father said he and his daughter are ‘extremely angry at President Viktor Yanukovych’.
Oleg Matsotskyy, who also coaches his daughter, posted a message in Ukrainian on his Facebook page in which he assailed Yanukovych’s latest actions.
“Instead of resolving the conflict through negotiations (which we had hoped he would when we left for Sochi), has drenched the last hopes of the nation in blood,” the message read.
“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 further performance at the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014.”
Matsotska finished 27th in the women’s super-G and 43rd in giant slalom and was on the slalom entry list issued last Sunday.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the Olympic body has been in touch with Ukraine’s national Olympic committee following a clash between anti-government protesters and police in Kiev that left at least 25 people dead and hundreds injured.
Pole vault great Sergei Bubka, who heads Ukraine’s national committee, has urged Ukrainian athletes to remain in Sochi as a sign of unity. But he has also said he respects the rights of athletes to make their own decision.
Some Ukrainian athletes had expressed interest in wearing black arm bands to honor those who died in the conflict. The Ukraine NOC said Wednesday they were informed by the IOC that they would not be allowed to wear them, just as some Norwegian competitors were denied permission earlier in the games.