Olympic Organizers Face Red After Announcing Ukrainian Medalists To Come From Republic Of China | Tokyo Olympics 2020
Olympic organizers have apologized after a Ukrainian artistic swimming duo was mistakenly announced as competing for the Russian Olympic Committee at a medal ceremony.
Russians Svetlana Romashina and Svetlana Kolesnichenko won the artistic swimming duo on Wednesday with the Ukrainian duo of Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk taking bronze but were announced on the podium as representing ROC.
“It was purely an operational error,” said spokesperson for the organizing committee, Masa Tanaka. “The call of the French language [of medallists] I should have said Team Ukraine, but instead he said ROC.
The error is particularly noticeable because of the diplomatic tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian region of Crimea was annexed by Russia during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and more than seven years after the annexation, Crimea is still recognized as Ukrainian territory under international law. The conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists continues in the eastern Donbass region, near the common border between the countries.
Announcements on Olympic venues are generally made in Japanese, English and French, which is the mother tongue of the modern Olympic movement.
“People noticed and the person in charge of the announcements apologized,” Tanaka said. “I also took this opportunity to express my apologies to those who are part of the Ukrainian team.”
During the European Football Championship, an outline of the national border of Ukraine, including Crimea, was woven into the jersey of the national team. Russian officials have complained to UEFA, the governing body of European football, which allowed the outline to remain while asking for a slogan to be removed from the inside of the shirt collar.
European football rules have prevented national and club teams from Ukraine and Russia from competing since 2014 for security reasons. Olympic athletes from both countries regularly participate in the same events.
During the opening ceremony on July 23, a Russian television channel broadcast advertisements just before Ukrainian athletes entered behind their national flag. The show returned after the team’s visit.