Ukrainian skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych flashed an anti-war sign Friday night after his third run at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Heraskevych revealed a paper sign reading “No War In Ukraine” in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag after speeding down the track at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre outside Beijing. He finished 18th in the event.
A Ukrainian skeleton athlete ended his third run at the Beijing Olympics by revealing a small sign to the cameras urging peace in his homeland. The message from Vladyslav Heraskevych read: “No War in Ukraine.” https://t.co/dunmfY85YZ
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 11, 2022
“It’s my position. Like any normal people, I don’t want war,” Heraskevych said after the race. “I want peace in my country, and I want peace in the world. It’s my position, so I fight for that. I fight for peace.”
The International Olympic Committee, which has a rule against demonstrating religious, political or racial propaganda, said the Ukrainian athlete would not be punished for his gesture. “This was a general call for peace. For the IOC the matter is closed,” the organization said, according to The Associated Press.
Politics has taken a more central role in the 2022 games, as many critics have spoken out against holding the games in China, which has cracked down on human rights in Hong Kong and is carrying out a genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. (RELATED: Olympics Viewers, Onlookers Scratch Heads Over Controversial Call DQing US, Russian Skaters As China Wins Gold)
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “imminent,” although Ukrainian authorities dispute that assessment. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and was spotted allegedly sleeping when the Ukrainian team entered the venue.
Heraskevych said the people of Ukraine are worried about what will come next. “In Ukraine, it’s really nervous now. A lot of news about guns, about weapons, what’s to come in Ukraine, about some armies around Ukraine,” he said. “It’s not OK. Not in the 21st century. So I decided, before the Olympics, that I would show my position to the world.”