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Sporting events are often used to make political statements, and the Winter Paralympics in Sochi have already proved to be a strong platform for Ukraine’s athletes.
Competing despite Russia’s ongoing intervention in Crimea, the Ukrainian team sent a single athlete out to represent the country in Friday’s Opening Ceremonies, a silent protest that nevertheless spoke volumes.
Then, Ukraine’s first medalist, biathlete Olena Iurkovska, dedicated her bronze medal to the unsettled country:
I devote my first medal in Sochi to an independent Ukraine. Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country. [Al Jazeera America]
The Games have begun, but Ukraine’s athletes aren’t playing around.