July 1, 2022

How have the Russian-Ukrainian tensions affected the sport?

New row over Winter Olympics follows numerous divisive incidents

The order announced by Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadim Gutzeit to the country’s sports stars not to be photographed with Russian rivals at the Beijing Winter Olympics is just the latest in a series of incidents curious involving athletes from both countries.

Gutzeit’s apparent insistence follows a series of controversies and arguments, ranging from oblivious to open provocation.

Here are some themes.

Russian and Ukrainian sportsmen have been warned against fraternization

Read more

Russian officials react to Ukrainian Olympic warning of ‘provocation’

Perhaps the most enraged political response to stars from both countries posing together came at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, when Ukraine’s defense minister issued a stern rebuke – controversially referring to a “Russian-Ukrainian War” – by summoning bronze high jump winner Yaroslava Mahuchikh to explain herself after she was photographed kissing Russian champion and fellow army athlete Maria Lasitskene.

Some fans also reacted with outrage and called the pair traitors, but several athletes and politicians publicly pushed back against those accusations and backed the mutually-admiring medalists, who were pictured together again after the Olympics.

The response prompted Ukrainian Paralympian Ihor Tsvietov to refuse to join his Russian sprint rivals on the medal podium, having been photographed alongside them in an earlier event.

Premier League champion Oleksandr Zinchenko has been warned he is failing to “defending honor” of Ukraine posing with Russian UFC great Khabib Nurmagomedov during a match in England.

“I wish you good luck in everything,” undeterred, Nurmagomedov wrote in the caption of another portrait of the couple together. “Even if someone doesn’t like it. »