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Olympic Movement keeps up the momentum in support of Ukrainian sports community

Release Date: 15 Aug 2022
Olympic Movement keeps up the momentum in support of Ukrainian sports community

15 Aug 2022 - The Olympic Movement is following up on the commitment by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to continue and even strengthen the support for Ukrainian athletes. This commitment was made by IOC President Thomas Bach when he visited Ukraine in July.

Since the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, supported by Belarus, in February, the IOC has been coordinating the support for more than 3,000 Ukrainian athletes both at home and abroad through the establishment of a solidarity fund and a task force led by Olympic champion Sergii Bubka, President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine and an IOC Member.

During his recent visit to Kyiv at the invitation of the Ukrainian NOC, President Bach announced the IOC was adding an extra USD 5 million to the aid fund, tripling its size to USD 7.5 million, with a view to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, and their respective qualifying events.

This was later welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a joint press conference with the IOC President.

Bubka has also been coordinating the support of the Olympic Movement beyond the fund through bilateral initiatives. These took place during the first few months of 2022 and have continued throughout the first half of the year.

“It is immensely gratifying to see that, after more than five months, these acts of solidarity with the Ukrainian sports community have not only been sustained but strengthened by the Olympic Movement. It does make the Ukrainian athletes feel they are not alone in such terrible times, especially now that their priority becomes the preparations for Paris 2024, with the beginning of the qualifiers, and Milano Cortina 2026,” said Bubka.

These are some of the most recent initiatives:

World Athletics Championships

The IOC solidarity fund and the Ukraine Fund launched by World Athletics, the Member Meetings of the Diamond League Association and the International Athletics Foundation enabled the Ukrainian Athletics Federation to pay a significant portion of the costs of training camps and competition across Europe for athletes preparing for the Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships (where Ukraine won a silver and a bronze medal) and the Cali 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships (one gold and one bronze), and covered the attendance for the entire Ukrainian delegation at these major events.

A number of European National Olympic Committees, in coordination with the IOC, have provided support too.

The IOC and European Athletics also assisted with training camps in Europe, while the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) provided additional support for more than 35 athletes and coaches attending atwo-weektraining camp in Chula Vista, California, leading into the World Championships.

PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation

Chaired by Seung Min Ryu, IOC Member in the Republic of Korea, the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation has offered to support training programmes for 20 elite winter sports athletes from Ukraine by providing access to Olympic facilities in PyeongChang and Gangneung and covering the costs of their stay. The Foundation has also given Ukrainian athletes competing in Europe or North America the opportunity to have access to Korean national team coaches and staff. The NOC of Ukraine has already started discussions with its National Winter Sports Federations on how to best make use of these opportunities.

Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee

More than 60 members of the Ukrainian team were hosted by the NOC of Slovakia at its training centre in Šamorín to finalise their preparations for the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, which ended on 30 July. Ukraine was represented in six of the 10 sports on the EYOF programme; the badminton team was the only one that did not conclude its preparations in Šamorín. On the last day of the event, Ukrainian athletes and NOC President Bubka met with the leadership of the NOC of Slovakia to thank them for the warm welcome and support. The participation costs of the Ukrainian team, which won 18 medals, were paid for by the solidarity fund with the contribution from the European Olympic Committees.

World Games

The 2022 World Games, held in Birmingham, USA, from 7 to 17 July, contributed USD 54,000 to the IOC solidarity fund as a result of the pledge to donate USD 1 from every ticket and item of Games merchandise sold since 1 April to help the Ukrainian sports community. Ukraine won the second largest number of gold medals and medals overall at the event.

USOPC and Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation

Nearly 50 athletes, coaches and family members from Ukraine have arrived in Utah since May for training camps and competitions in curling and freestyle skiing thanks to the USOPC, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and the State of Utah. The Utah Olympic Oval and Weber County Ice Sheet have offered curling training alongside University of Utah-provided housing for the first group of athletes. A second group of athletes, coaches and family members were provided with housing and freestyle skiing training at Utah Olympic Park, along with additional training resources at the US Ski and Snowboard USANA Centre of Excellence in Park City.

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