BEIJING — The International Olympic Committee says there will be no repercussions for the Ukrainian skeleton athlete who flashed a small sign urging peace in his homeland at the end of a run.

The message Vladyslav Heraskevych displayed Friday read: “No War in Ukraine.” The sign was printed on a blue-and-yellow piece of paper, matching the colors of Ukraine’s flag.

Beijing Olympics Ukraine Sign

Vladyslav Heraskevych, of Ukraine, holds a sign that reads “No War in Ukraine” after finishing a run at the men’s skeleton competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday. NBC via Associated Press

“It’s my position. Like any normal people, I don’t want war,” Heraskevych said after he finished competing. “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 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.

“In Ukraine, it’s really nervous now,” Heraskevych said. “A lot of news about guns, about weapons, what’s to come in Ukraine, about some armies around Ukraine. It’s not OK. Not in the 21st century. So I decided, before the Olympics, that I would show my position to the world.”

It was possible that the IOC could have considered 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 the IOC characterized the sign late Friday as “a general call for peace.” They consider the matter closed.

Heraskevych ultimately finished 18th in a field of 20.

 


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