Maksym Yarovyi and Roman Petushkov at during the Russian anthem. (ATR)
Russian, Ukrainian Biathletes Share Podium
Roman Petushkov of Russia and Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine sat beside one another on the podium at the Rosa Khutor medals plaza following their one-two finish in the men’s 7.5km sitting biathlon.
The Russian athlete clapped his hands for his fellow competitor as Yarovyi was introduced to the nearly 2,000 spectators in attendance on Saturday evening.
Yarovyi looked down without expression as the Russian national anthem played and the Ukranian and Russia flags were raised side by side.
Considering the ongoing Russian Ukrainian conflict in Crimea, perhaps it was an uncomfortable moment for some, however Yarovyi, 24, said he was doing his best to keep his focus on competition.
“This is about sport and not about politics and I really appreciate and support all the sportsmen, no matter what country they are from,” Yarovyi said shortly after receiving his silver medal.
“Yes, of course the situation is very difficult and very sad, but at the moment, I’m trying to relax and concentrate on my sport and not think of it in a negative way,” said the biathlete, who is from the southern Ukrainian city of Nikolayev.
Yarovyi said his family is safe and they encouraged him to participate at the Games in Russia. He said the lead-up to competing in his first Paralympic Games has been trying and emotional.
“This past week was difficult because whether we were participating or not was changing all the time,” Yarovyi said. “I am happy that we are participating because we have been training for three years preparing to compete at these Games.”
Petushkov, who led a Russian sweep winning his second gold medal on Sunday in the men’s 15km cross-country sitting event, declined to comment to English-speaking reporters.
Update on U.S. Sit Skier
Tyler Walker posted this photo to his Facebook page, saying he is OK.
U.S. sit skier Tyler Walker suffered a nasty crash in Saturday’s opening downhill event, somersaulting numerous times after being knocked unconscious. The accomplished 27-year-old racer received medical treatment on the mountain, before being airlifted by helicopter to Sochi hospital for further procedures.
Late that evening Walker posted positive news on his Facebook page.
Walker wrote: “I'm ok! I don't remember crashing but I didn't break anything. Thanks so much for all the support, it means everything. I totally got a ride in a Russian helicopter, though!”
Canadian IPC Member Assesses Level of Competition
Canadian Todd Nicholson, a member of the IPC Governing Board and also a five-time Paralympian in ice sledge hockey, talked to Around the Rings
about the potential legacy and competition at the Sochi Paralympics.
“Accessibility is obviously something that’s been put into the minds of everyone here and we’re really hoping that the legacy left behind at these Games is one the sport, but also that people with impairments can contribute to society,” Nicholson said.
“In terms of the sport and the level of competition, it’s nice to see the high levels in all sports, but for me being as a hockey player, seeing the eight teams here, its not pre-determined who’s going to win. It says something for Paryalympic sport now and how competitive everything is getting.”
Homepage photo from Getty Images.
Written by Brian Pinelli in Sochi.
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