As the entire community grapples with a significant geopolitical crisis not seen in decades, Ukrainian CrossFitters took to CrossFit‘s Open leaderboard to record a protest film decrying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After workout 22.1, five Ukrainian athletes dominated the male Open leaderboard, and Svetlana Pushkareva, a 17-year-old from Ukraine, briefly led the women’s leaderboard, however, their workout videos all linked to a YouTube video titled “Ban Russian CrossFit Athletes.”
At the moment, we are unable to confirm the validity of the film, which supposedly depicts Russian forces and tanks attacking numerous cities and places in Ukraine, as well as bombs and air attacks on civilians. It also has the following description:
“Dear CrossFit, the entire Ukrainian CrossFit community requests that you prohibit Russian CrossFit athletes and affiliates from competing in Ukraine as representatives of Russian aggression!” We need your help until they put an end to this heinous war! Don’t be indifferent! Our Crossfit athletes, affiliates, and coaches are at risk!”
One major point: Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine has substantially mobilized the international community against President Vladimir Putin’s country. NATO, which includes the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, and Germany, has already imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia, while Ukrainians across the country have taken up arms in response to the invasion.
Following the initial invasion by Russian soldiers last week, Ukrainian CrossFit affiliates were compelled to close across the country as the country entered a state of emergency.
A request for comment from CrossFit on Ukrainian athletes sharing protest films on its website was not returned.
CrossFit’s general manager of Affiliates and International, Gary Gaines, made a statement to Morning Chalk Up shortly after the news broke.
“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.”
FIFA, the world’s governing body of soccer, has banned Russia from participating in international competitions “until further notice.” The United States Soccer Federation, like other countries across the world, announced today that it would not play any matches against Russian teams, stating:
“No matter the level of competition or circumstance, we will not tarnish our world game or disrespect Ukraine by playing on the same field as Russia until independence and peace have been restored.”
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Russian CrossFit athlete Roman Khrennikov pleaded for peace. The CrossFit Games competitor who received a visa to visit the United States recently.
Khrennikov has been joined by other Russian CrossFit entities in calling for peace and support for Ukraine. On Instagram, the Siberian Showdown, an officially licensed CrossFit competition and one of Russia’s biggest events, wrote:
“On behalf of the Russian community, we express our support, sympathize, and wish that reason prevails and this war comes to an end!!!”
Kseniia Trubetskaia, a member of the Kolesnikov Team, which won the Asia Semifinal and qualified for the Games, made an Instagram post calling for unity rather than a ban on athletes competing in their sport.
“I’m terrified because I don’t know what my future holds.” My home, on the other hand, is secure, and my loved ones are still alive. That is the significant difference that makes me feel personally responsible for the actions of my government.”
Trubetskaia’s photo was reposted on the Instagram stories of several Russian CrossFit organizations, including the Kolesnikov Team (89.9k followers) and CrossFit Russia (62.1k followers).
Ganna Almazova, a four-time Ukrainian national champion and 2019 Games individual participant, has been sharing her personal story of what is going on in her country on Instagram stories, including food shortages, fellow CrossFitters picking up arms, and the havoc wrought by the invasion.
We will keep an eye on the situation in Ukraine as it pertains to CrossFit and its community and update our readers as an when the story further develops.