“Ukraine should be independent.” In memory of Danylo Myhal

March 12,2024 638
“Ukraine should be independent.” In memory of Danylo Myhal

On March 7, Canadian Ukrainian Danylo Myhal passed away at the age of 68, as reported by the League of Ukrainian Canadians – Thunder Bay.

Today, we bid farewell to a cherished member of our community, Danylo Myhal, who passed away at the age of 68. His vibrant spirit, unwavering patriotism, and enduring love for Ukrainian culture touched the hearts of all who knew him. From his memorable act of courage during the 1976 Olympics to his lifelong dedication to promoting freedom for Ukraine, Danylo’s legacy will forever be etched in our hearts and history. The flag he bravely waved now flies proudly in Kyiv, a testament to his undying dream for Ukraine,” the post reads.

Myhal left a memorable mark in history by interrupting the 1976 Olympic Games soccer semifinal between the USSR and GDR in Montreal. Dressed in a vyshyvanka – a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt – and carrying the Ukrainian flag, Myhal leaped onto the field to perform the hopak, a Ukrainian dance. This bold act occurred during a match predominantly featuring Ukrainian players from Dynamo Kyiv, representing the USSR team. 

His appearance garnered applause from the crowd, briefly pausing the game and leading to his detention. Notably, Myhal was released from police custody by Andrii Bandera, the son of Stepan Bandera and a journalist. Danylo Myhal’s act of defiance remains a symbolic gesture of Ukrainian spirit and patriotism.

“It seemed to me that my act would not remain in the shadows and the world would pay attention to the fact that Ukraine could be an independent state,” Myhal later recalled.

This historic moment was edited out from broadcasts in the USSR. This precious footage was rediscovered in the 2010s by journalist Mykola Kniazhytskyi, who brought it to light.

On August 23, 2022, coinciding with Ukraine’s National Flag Day, a significant event took place. The flag Myhal proudly carried to the 1976 match was ceremoniously hoisted at the inauguration of the new season of the Ukrainian Football Championship.

Born in 1955 in Canada to Ukrainian immigrant parents, Danylo Myhal had a rich and impactful life. He pursued journalism, actively participated in Canadian Plast, Prosvita, and was a dedicated Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) member.

In 2021, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Andriy Shevchenko, recognized Danylo Myhal with an award for his contribution to the development of the Ukrainian community in Canada.

Eternal memory to a true Ukrainian and condolences to his family.

Cover: the League of Ukrainian Canadians – Thunder Bay

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