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Ukrainian Athletes Post Protest Videos for CrossFit Open Workouts

Photo Credit: CrossFit Games
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Ukrainian CrossFitters took to CrossFit’s Open leaderboard to post a protest video denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the international community deals with a massive geopolitical crisis not seen in decades.

  • CrossFit’s male Open leaderboard showed five Ukrainian athletes leading after workout 22.1 and Svetlana Pushkareva, a 17-year old from Ukraine led the women’s leaderboard for a brief time, however their workout videos all linked to a YouTube video titled “Ban Russian CrossFit Athletes.” 

The video–of which Morning Chalk Up was unable to verify the authenticity–allegedly shows videos of Russian troops and tanks invading various cities and areas in Ukraine, as well as bombings and air attacks on various communities. It also features a description that reads:

  • “Dear CrossFit, all Ukrainian crossfit community ask you to ban Russian crossfit athletes and affiliates as representatives of Russian aggression in Ukraine! We need your support until they end this horrible war! Our Crossfit athletes are in danger, our affiliates, our coaches, don’t be indifferent!”

One big thing: Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has largely galvanized the international community against the country, led by president Vladimir Putin. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which includes the United Kingdom, the U.S., Canada, France and Germany have already brought down heavy economic sanctions on Russia, while Ukranians have taken up arms across the country in response to the invasion. 

CrossFit did not respond to a request for comment concerning Ukrainian athletes posting protest videos on its website.

Gary Gaines, CrossFit’s general manager of Affiliates and International issued a statement to Morning Chalk Up shortly after the invasion began:

  • “Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine, including the CrossFit affiliates, coaches, and members there whose lives and safety are at risk. We have reached out to all of our affiliates in Ukraine to see if there is anything we can do to help, and we stand ready to support our Ukrainian CrossFit community.”

Call for action and peace: Global soccer’s governing body FIFA announced they are banning Russia from its competitions “until further notice.” The USA Soccer Federation joined other countries throughout the world today, announcing that they would not play any matches against Russian teams stating:

  • “We will neither tarnish our global game, nor dishonor Ukraine, by taking the same field as Russia, no matter the level of competition or circumstance, until freedom and peace have been restored.”

On Sunday, Russian CrossFit athlete Roman Khrennikov called for peace in a post on Instagram. The CrossFit Games contender who was recently granted a visa to travel to the United States.

Other Russian CrossFit entities have joined Khrennikov for calls for peace and support for Ukraine. The Siberian Showdown, an officially licensed CrossFit competition and one of the top events in Russia posted on their Instagram:

  • “On behalf of the Russian community, we express our support to our Ukrainian friends, sympathize and hope that reason will prevail and this war will end!!!”

Kseniia Trubetskaia, an athlete for the Kolesnikov Team, the Asia Semifinal winner and Games qualifying team, posted on her Instagram a call for unity and not for one banning athletes from competing in their sport. 

  • “I am scared, I don’t know what my future is going to look like. But my home is safe and my loved ones are alive. That is the huge difference that makes me feel personally guilty for what my government is doing.”

Trubetskaia’s post was shared on numerous Russian CrossFit entities Instagram stories including the Kolesnikov Team (89.9k followers) and CrossFit Russia (62.1k followers) pages.

Ganna Almazova, 2019 Games individual athlete and four-time Ukranian national champion, has been sharing on her Instagram stories her personal account of what is going on in her country including shortages of food, fellow CrossFitters taking up arms, and the destruction that has been caused by the invasion.

One big thing: The Morning Chalk Up will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine as it relates to CrossFit and its community. 

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