Winter Olympics: Athlete displays sign calling for ‘No War in Ukraine’

A Ukrainian skeleton athlete flashed a small sign that read “No War in Ukraine” to the cameras as he finished a run at the Beijing Olympics on Friday night.

Vladyslav Heraskevych’s sign was printed on a blue-and-yellow piece of paper, matching the colors of his country’s flag.

The gesture comes as Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops near Ukraine, stoking fears in the West that Moscow is planning an invasion. Russia insists it has no such plans but doesn’t want Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to be allowed to join the western NATO alliance.

It is possible that the International Olympic Committee could consider Heraskevych’s act a violation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. That rule, in part, states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

But it also could fall into a gray area since the sign did not explicitly disrespect an opponent or criticize any political target.

The IOC relaxed its rule against protests before the Tokyo Games, allowing athletes to express themselves politically before competitions start — but Heraskevych’s action would likely not be covered by that because it happened at the finish line. Still, the IOC doesn’t always choose to bring a disciplinary case.

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