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28 Feb 2023 – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to lead the Olympic Movement’s efforts to support Ukrainian athletes. Its USD 7.5 million Solidarity Fund will help them prepare for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.
To date, approximately 3,000 Ukrainian athletes and coaches have benefited from this support and the direct assistance of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs), allowing them to continue to train and compete in major events, including the World Athletics Championships, the World Games and the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival.
Ukrainian athletes’ inspiring table tennis and wrestling triumphs
The unprecedented solidarity of the Olympic Movement with the Ukrainian Olympic community has helped Ukrainian athletes achieve notable successes on the world stage in recent months.
The Ukrainian women’s freestyle wrestling team was able to claim its first Women’s World Cup title in the USA in December 2022, thanks to support from United World Wrestling (UWW), Olympic Solidarity, the NOC of Ukraine and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), which provided technical assistance to the Ukraine Wrestling Federation for its women’s team to participate in major UWW events.
Working in partnership with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and its Foundation, the IOC’s Solidarity Fund was able to support the Ukrainian team’s participation in the ITTF World Paralympic Championships, which were held in Spain in November 2022. This support enabled two female and five male players to attend the event, with Lev Kats and Ivan Mai winning gold in the men’s doubles class 18.
Widespread support in the lead-up to the Games
The IOC’s Solidarity Fund for the Ukrainian Olympic Community continues to provide a wide range of support and assistance to athletes as they prepare for Paris 2024 and Milano Cortina 2026.
Highlighting the ongoing collaboration within the Olympic Movement to support Ukrainian athletes, the Solidarity Fund also helped finance a joint initiative between World Aquatics and the NOC of Turkey, which saw 17 artistic swimmers and eight officials from Ukraine participating in a one-month training camp in October 2022 in Antalya, Turkey.
Support for similar training camps, which includes covering the costs of travel, meals and accommodation, has been provided to Ukrainian athletes in sports such as archery, athletics, biathlon, curling, gymnastics, handball, karate, rowing and swimming, highlighting the widespread assistance that is being provided.
National Federations and Ukrainian athletes have regularly expressed their gratefulness for the support provided from the IOC and Olympic Movement to them. The Ukrainian Handball Federation thanked the IOC for providing financial support: “At this extremely difficult time for Ukraine, we thank you for your manifestations of true humanity and providing financial support for the needs of the Ukrainian national handball teams.”The Ukrainian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation expressed its most sincere gratitude “for the great support to athletes and coaches in this difficult time for all Ukrainians”.
Ukrainian swimmer Mykhailo Romanchuk posted on his Instagram page back in September: “One of the hardest months of my career is behind me. And I would like to thank the IOC and the Ukrainian NOC for their support and the opportunity to continue training and defend my country on the international arena”.
Solidarity Fund Task Force
In total, more than 115 requests have received backing so far from the IOC’s Solidarity Fund for the Ukrainian Olympic community, which was established in February 2022 in coordination with Olympic Solidarity, the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and a Task Force led by the IOC Member and former President of the NOC of Ukraine, Sergii Bubka.
Its main objective has been to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of elite and high-level athletes in the country, while also helping them to continue competing on the international stage by covering costs related to competitions, training camps, travel and accommodation.
The IOC made an initial donation of USD 1 million when the Fund was established, and a further USD 500,000 was donated by the EOC. After President Bach’s visit to Kyiv in July 2022, the IOC added an extra USD 5 million to the Fund, with a view to supporting athletes for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, and their respective qualifying events.
Following an appeal to the wider Olympic Movement by IOC President Thomas Bach, additional donations totalling more than USD 1 million were received from IOC Members, NOCs, IFs and Worldwide Olympic Partners.