UWC World Sport Committee Chair on 2024 World Figure Skating Championships

March 27,2024 842
UWC World Sport Committee Chair on 2024 World Figure Skating Championships

by Renata Roman,

UWC Chair Sports Committee
Member of NOC  Ukraine – Diaspora committee

Montreal, Canada, was the host of a week-long event – 2024 World Figure Skating Championships from March 20-24. There were 6 skaters proudly representing Ukraine in all 4 disciplines: Men – Iwan Smyratko (Kyiv), Ladies – Anastasiia Gozhva (Kyiv), Pairs – Sofiia Holichenko & Artem Darenskyi (Dnipro), Ice Dance – Maria Holubtsova & Kyryl Bielobrov (Odesa/Montreal). These are all current Ukrainian National champions. As one can imagine, the training schedules and facilities have been disrupted due to the war, not to mention other issues with travel and health. I was encouraged by the cheering crowd every time the Ukrainian skaters took to the ice. Lots of Blue & Yellow flags were waving in the stands. The skaters noticed this and were very thankful and full of emotion upon completing their skate. 

I was particularly moved by skating fans of all backgrounds, who came up to me and expressed their support for Ukraine. They mentioned that these skaters were a highlight with their artistic talent and courage. One notable skate by Iwan skating to impressed everyone as they felt his pain and patriotism on the ice. It brought many to tears at the end of his performance lying on the ice.

Having volunteered with the National team for close to 30 years, I was happy to see them back in Canada. I worked closely with Quebec UCC President Michael Shwec to inform the hromada and to attend the events. Mr. Shwec and his UCC team organized a visit to 2 Ukrainian schools on Saturday morning.

The students and teachers were thrilled to have the all 6 skaters in their school and asked many questions. Many children in this school are new immigrants from Eastern Ukraine – cities included Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol and western cities Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. The event ended with “Pampyshky” for all. 

The general secretary of the Ukrainian Skating Federation, Anastasia Makarova and myself held a meeting with ISU President Mr. Kim Jae-youl to thank him for his support of Ukraine and not permitting skaters from Russia and Belarus to compete in all ISU disciplines. This is one of a few international federations that have these strict rules. He was thankful and said that this support will continue for the duration of the war. 

We, in Canada, wish all the skaters and team members a safe trip back to Ukraine and future success. We thank them for their courage to compete and represent Ukraine on the worldwide stage. 

Slava Ukraini – Heroyam Slava!

Cover: Toronto Star

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