Sochi 2014: Ukraine's Bogdana Matsotska withdraws in protest

Ukraine's Matsotska explains withdrawal

Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska has withdrawn from the Winter Olympics in protest at Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and his government.

Fighting in Ukraine has left dozens of people dead and hundreds more injured amid anti-government protests.

The 24-year-old was set to compete in the slalom in Sochi on Friday.

"I have decided not to take part in my favourite discipline because of the horrible events that are happening in the capital of my Ukraine," she said.

Ukraine team officials and some athletes held a minute's silence in memory of the victims.

Black ribbons were added to Ukraine flags hanging on the balconies of their building in the athletes' village.

Ukraine's crisis explained - in 60 seconds

"I am not a political person, I am totally out of politics and political parties, but I stand against these horrible actions that Yanukovych and his government are taking against our Ukrainian people," said Matsotska.

The skier had taken part in two events at the Games, finishing 27th in the super-G race on Saturday and 43rd in the giant slalom on Tuesday.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said: "In terms of what the Ukrainian athletes individually want to do, I believe some of them have decided to return home."

Sergey Bubka, the six-time former world pole vault champion who is head of Ukraine's national Olympic committee, called for a truce between anti-government forces and police on Wednesday.

Adams revealed he had spoken to Bubka in Sochi and he had expressed a wish for Ukraine team members to stay together in Russia.

"Sergey Bubka has said to me he absolutely respects every individuals right to make their own decision. His view, for the team, is that it's better for the team to show unity and to show a small example of reconciliation."

Ukraine brought 45 athletes to compete in Sochi across nine separate sports. Viktoria Semerenko has won their sole medal so far - a bronze in the women's 7.5km biathlon sprint.

Top Stories