Olympic gold medalist joins Ukrainian army in fight against Russia

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Olympic gold medalist Oleg Verniaiev posted a photo on his Instagram in a military uniform, becoming an addition to the Ukrainian armed forces against the invasion of Russia.

Verniaiev, a gymnast who won parallel bars gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, gave a peace sign in his uniform on his Instagram Stories on Tuesday.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has continued to push Ukrainians out of their country, devastating towns and villages, including Donetsk, where Verniaiev is from.

Verniaiev is not the only gymnast to join the ranks, as 18-year-old Ukrainian national team gymnast Volodymyr Kostiuk announced two weeks ago that he had received his project notice and published it. on her Instagram, according to WOGymnastika, a gymnastics news source. Kostiuk wrote in Ukrainian: “Guess who’s going to the military enlistment office tomorrow?”

Olympic gold medalist gymnast Oleg Verniaiev joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces amid the Russian invasion. Above, Verniaiev competes on the rings during the men’s individual all-around final of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on October 5, 2017 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada.
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Verniaiev has shown his support for Ukraine online since the start of the invasion and issued a call for Russia to be banned from all international sport on February 28.

Verniaiev wrote a list of demands in the message: “1. Exclude Russia from all international sports governing bodies (IOC, FIFA, UEFA, IIHF, IAAF, FIBA, ISU, etc.)”

“2. Prohibit any Russian athlete from participating in any international competition,” he added. Third and fourth, he wrote: “Stop the sale of broadcasting rights of international sports competitions to Russian media” and “Ban Russian companies from sponsoring international competitions and clubs”.

Finally, he asked the international sports society to “Support Ukraine with information! Join in sharing truthful information about the actions of aggressor countries!”

On the same day, FIFA and UEFA issued a joint statement stating that Russian national and club football teams were banned from international competition, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Ahead of FIFA’s statement, the International Olympic Committee called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be banned from international competition until the crisis in Ukraine is resolved.

Russian teams have since been banned by the International Tennis Federation and even video game developer EA Sports, which will no longer include Russian teams in future games. The National Hockey League has suspended relations with its Russian business partners.

Verniaiev also spoke out against Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak, who wore the controversial Z symbol during competition and while standing alongside Ukrainian competitor Illia Kovtun at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, Australia. Qatar.

“You’re sorry, of course, but don’t let the Russians shout that sport is out of politics! Congratulations to our guy, everything is in place Glory to Ukraine,” Verniaiev posted on Instagram on March 5.

Newsweek has contacted the International Gymnastics Federation for comment.

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