The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Athletes response to the Russo-Ukraine war

Athletes from around the world and from various sports show support on and off their respective courts and fields.
Athletes from around the world and from various sports show support on and off their respective courts and fields.

The Russo-Ukraine war has been active since Feb. 2014 and on Feb. 24 of this year, Russia officially invaded Ukraine. This devastation has prompted many reactions from students to professional athletes.
Many students were personally affected by tragic news, one being Ukrainian freshman Zinovi Knizhnik. Knizhnik is an extreme sports fan, he follows and argues about hockey, soccer, basketball and football.
“My entire family is in Ukraine and all my family can do is hope that they are safe. I think the support is good and light is being shed on the situation but on the other side, I feel bad for the Russian players who can’t play in the world cup. It’s not their fault, it’s Putin’s fault,” Knizhnik said.
Many Russians are against the war itself but are looped into the politics by Putin and given the options between the world and Russia. Some Russian athletes are being used as propaganda. For instance, olympic gymnast Ivan Kuliak taped the letter Z, which has become a pro-war symbol, on his chest after receiving a bronze medal.
Russian tennis player Andrey Rubev wrote on the camera “No war please,” following his advancement to the final in the ATP men’s competition and Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin came out condemning the war in a recent press conference.
“It’s a hard situation right now for both sides, and everything, how I said, everything I hope is going to end. I’m not in control of this situation,” Ovechkin said in the press conference after the Capitals practice in Philadelphia.
Athletes from all over the world have chosen to support Ukrainians affected. The New Orleans Pelicans, a NBA team, came out against the Sacramento Kings wearing league issued yellow socks representing the Ukrainian flag. They were hoping to bring more awareness to the tragic situation by showing support from the American side. Pelicans head coach Willie Green stated that the idea stemmed from the team on their bus trip in Los Angeles.
“We’re just trying to bring more attention. The enemy is still out there. Innocent people are still dying. The whole world is talking about sanctions, support, prayers — but something else has to be done because the war is still going on,” Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas said in a press conference following the win against the Kings.
The Pelicans weren’t the only sports team to come out with support. Premier League teams Manchester City and Everton came out wearing Ukrainian flags before later playing each other. Both teams are home to Ukrainian nationals Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is on Manchester City, and Vitaliy Mykolenko on Everton. The two embraced during warm ups and were met with support from both Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, Everton Manager Frank Lampard and fans from both sides.
“Yes of course it is not an easy period for [Zinchenko]. Playing football is the best war for him,” Guardiola said in a pre-match interview against Everton.
As a sign of solidarity, Manchester City captain Fernando Roza, better known as Fernandinho, spent eight years in the Ukrainian League with FC Shakhtar Donetsk before moving to City in 2013, gave the captain’s armband to Zinchenko.
“Our captain decided to give the captain’s armband to him to show how important the situation is,” Guardiola said in an interview with UK’s Daily Mail.
It wasn’t just Zinchenko and Mykolenko who responded in the soccer world. Russian billionaire and politician Roman Abramovich had owned Chelsea since 2003 but following the continuous invasion of Ukraine, had decided to sell the team, having the best interests of everybody at mind. At the request of Ukraine, Abramovich is currently assisting in negotiations with Russia to try to resolve the war.
“I appreciate the effort and I hope he’s successful,” Knizhnik said.

Story continues below advertisement
1
0
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Pitch
$940
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Walter Johnson High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Rhea Noumair
Rhea Noumair, Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator
Junior Rhea Noumair is in her third year of Pitch and is the Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator. She enjoys playing and watching soccer, painting and listening to music in her free time.
Donate to The Pitch
$940
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Pitch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *