Speed Reads

Playing politics

Ukraine's Paralympians aren't playing around at the Winter Games

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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.