Ukrainian skier drops out of Olympics because of violence in Kiev

Sam Scorzo Contributor
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The two-time Olympic Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotka dropped out of the Games in Sochi Thursday because of the violence in her homeland.

“I don’t want to participate when in my country people die,” Matsotska told The Associated Press.

Matsotska is referencing the ongoing anti-government protests in Maidan, the central Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine where at least 70 people have died.

The skier said she would have liked to join the protesters already but has been unsuccessful in booking the two-hour flight back.

“I am in Maidan but just with my soul,” she said.

The 24-year-old said she made the decision with her father, Oleg Matsotskyy, who also trains her.

According to the AP, Matsotskyy criticized the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s actions on Facebook, stating: “Instead of resolving the conflict through negotiations (which we had hoped he would when we left for Sochi), he has drenched the last hopes of the nation in blood.”

Matsotska’s decision to forfeit comes only two days before the closing ceremonies. She has already competed in the giant slalom and super G events where she placed 43rd and 27th, respectively. She is only missing the slalom on Friday, which is supposedly her best event.

The Ukrainian National Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee have respected her decision to drop out.

Questions are no doubt surrounding the involvement of the remaining members of the Ukrainian team.

“We are trying to show to the world that Ukrainian athletes are competing. We try to show the glory for Ukraine,” Sergei Bubka, head of Ukraine’s Olympic committee said.

But as for the closing ceremonies, Bubka asked, “What uniform should we wear? I am asking, What is comfortable for you? We will see later. Let us think. We have two days.”