Sergey Bubka, head of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, Wednesday called for an end to the violence in his country as Ukraine’s athletes are competing at the Sochi Winter Games.
Reuters reports Bubka, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member, was shocked by the events unfolding in Ukraine. He said, “I couldn’t believe, I cannot believe it’s happened, and we are in such a difficult situation today”.
He added, “I pray, and again I appeal to both parties to stop violence. Try to find peace. Try to find, keep us together and live in peace, because this is most important. For us, what happened in Ukraine is a big shock”.
Police said protestors have seized regional administration headquarters in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv, one of the cities bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
IOC President Thomas Bach praised Ukraine’s athletes for competing with “great dignity” despite the violence back home, reports Reuters.
He extended condolences to the victim’s families and praised Ukrainian athletes for continuing to compete in Sochi.
He said, “the way they have continued to represent their nation with great dignity is a credit to them and their country. Their presence here is a symbol that sport can find bridges and help to bring people from different backgrounds together in peace”.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters that any talk of the Lviv bid was secondary at the moment. He said, “in terms of Lviv and the bid, I think at this stage with the terrible things that are going on at the moment, I think we should concentrate on what’s going on there and hope that solves itself in as peaceful a way as possible. It is not really right to be speculating on an Olympic bid when such things are happening”.