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“They pray while we suffer”: Leader of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics protest Vladyslav Heraskevych demands Russian ban

Vladyslav Heraskevych, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics protestor, has called for a ban on Russian athletes.

Vladyslav Heraskevych, 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Just days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine took place, Vladyslav Heraskevych took to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics stage to declare his cry for peace. He held up a sign that said “No war in Ukraine” even though he feared that he would get kicked out of the Winter Olympics. It was an act of defiance that stormed through the world- but days later the same thing happened to his home country.

Now, Heraskevych is back with another message. He speaks from the bombed Chernihiv Olympic Training and Sports Centre, 31 miles from the border of Belarus. “It is time for all sports to ban Russian athletes until the war is over,” Heraskevych said to the Guardian. “It is absolutely crazy that they play while we suffer.”

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Vladyslav Heraskevych, protestor at Beijing Winter Olympics, want justice for Ukrainian athletes

Vladyslav Heraskevych, 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

“The idea of coming to Chernihiv is to use sports to bring happiness to kids whose childhood has been stolen by occupiers,” he said. “For over a month these kids heard rockets and explosions all around them. They had nightmares. They had to stay in basements to stay safe. But they are still kids and they need to have fun.” He wants sports to give the citizens hope that life can be a bit normal once again.

Heraskevych talked about his life when war hit Ukraine“It was really scary. You didn’t know whether you would be alive or dead, especially when rocket shells were landing a few hundred metres from you. Russia has always used sport for propaganda,” he said “But now sport is being used for war propaganda too.”

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