Sochi: Ukraine athletes honour protestors

Ukrainian athletes held a minute's silence in the Athletes' Village on the Olympic Park as a mark of respect for the protesters who lost their lives in Kiev.

Ukraine protests

The protests on Tuesday, which left 25 people dead and 240 injured, were in response to president Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of a trade deal with Europe and subsequent decision to turn to Russia for financial help.

Ukraine-born Bubka, who represented the USSR until its dissolution in 1991, is heading up the Ukrainian team in Sochi - consisting of 43 athletes - and believes that team should remain in Sochi, although it was suggested at Thursday's International Olympic Committee/Sochi 2014 media briefing that some athletes had opted to return home.

" I saw Sergey this morning and his view is that the best thing is for the team to remain here," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.

"Regarding the Ukrainian athletes I believe some of them have decided to return home and Sergey has said he respects the right of individuals to do what they want."

Asked if Ukrainian athletes had been prevented from wearing black armbands on Wednesday as a mark of respect, Adams replied: "They were not prevented from wearing black armbands.

"The Ukrainian NOC (National Olympic Committee) met with IOC officials yesterday and had a discussion about what would be the best thing to do.

"I wasn't at that meeting but I understand they (Ukrainian NOC) decided to do other things (than wearing black armbands).

"That there were other ways to show solidarity and the healing powers of sport - for the team to be together and to have a minute's silence. They held a minute's silence in the (Athletes) Village."

Adams, asked if any special measures were in place regarding the security of the Ukrainian athletes, added: "Security is a matter for the NOC."

Ukrainian cross-country skiers Kateryna Serdyuk and Marina Lisogor pulled out of the women's team sprint classic event in which they were due to compete on Wednesday, but Adams said this was because of an injury to Serdyuk rather than for political reasons.

"I spoke to the ski federation and it's not the case," he said. "There was an injury to one of the athletes so they withdrew the team."

The Ukrainian city of Lviv is bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics after the PyeonChang Games in 2018.

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