The color guard prior to the U.S. national anthem sung by Anya Kosachevich (second from right). From left are: Myron Bytz, Eugene Mandzy, Stefan Krysyna, Ihor Rudko, Pavlo Pencak, Alexandra Soltys and Chris Bytz.

N.J. Devils host fourth annual Ukrainian Heritage Day

NEWARK, N.J. – Hundreds of Ukrainians attended the fourth annual Ukrainian Heritage Day during an NHL match between the New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Prudential Center on March 19. More than 18,000 people were in attendance. Prior to the match, as well as during the period intermissions, as part of the afternoon’s entertainment on the concourse level, Ukrainian dance groups performed various dances from multiple regions of Ukraine. Many passersby were curious and stopped with camera phones out to shoot some video or pictures, while others clapped to the music and dancing. Andrij Cybyk, who is artistic director of the Iskra Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and Academy in Whippany, N.J., served as master of ceremonies and a cultural ambassador for those unfamiliar with Ukraine.

Filmmaker Matej Silecky interviews Ukrainian Americans who were displaced persons in Europe during the aftermath of the second world war. Among the interviewees were (photos from left): Bohdanna Bilowchtchuk, North Port, Fla., Orysia Swystun, North Port, Fla., and Bohdan Guran, Venice, Fla.

“Baba Babee Skazala” documentary seeks funding to complete project

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ukrainian American filmmaker Matej Silecky’s documentary film, “Baba Babee Skazala,” features interviews with post-World War II immigrants who came to the United States after living as displaced persons. Mr. Silecky’s Kitsune Tale Productions hopes “to foster independent creative and artistic projects, using storytelling to transform perspectives, much like the mythical shape-shifting kitsune.”

Through interviews, the documentary transcribes the verbal history from personal experiences and makes something “for the record” that will be accessible for generations. The film provides a more in-depth view of the Ukrainian American diaspora, focusing on the immigrant experiences of this post-World War II wave of migration to the U.S. Notably, this includes being caught between Hitler and Stalin, as well as after the war, the uncertainty – as displaced persons – of not knowing if you were going to be forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union while awaiting passage to the United States. Once in the U.S., there were assimilation challenges. In an e-mail sent to The Ukrainian Weekly, Mr. Silecky noted:

“We have filmed 30 interviews in five locations across the U.S. and are currently filming in the New York metropolitan area.

Sportsline

Olympics

• Twenty-eight Russian Olympic athletes at the 2014 Sochi Games are having their samples retested by the International Olympic Committee. Manipulations of the samples, it said, could lead to sanctions. Russia won 33 medals, 13 of which were gold. All of this comes after Prof. Richard McLaren’s report that showed a state-sponsored doping program in Russia between 2011 and 2015, and masked results using salt, coffee and in some cases male urine was used for female hockey players. Samples from the 2010 Vancouver Games are also being retested.

Sportsline

Soccer

• Shakhtar Donetsk has advanced to the Round of 32 in the UEFA Europa League. The team won 1-0 against Celta Vigo of Spain on February 16 in the first-leg match. Shakhtar plays on February 23 in the second-leg match (played at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv). A win for Shakhtar advances them to the round of 16 and the draw is to be announced on February 24 in Nyon, France, with matches to begin on March 9 and 16. In Group 8, Shakhtar won 4-2 against Braga on December 8, 2016, and led the group with 18 points, (six wins, and no losses).

Vasyl Lomachenko (right) displayed his “high-tech” skills against Nicholas Walters of Jamaica at the Cosmopolitan arena in Las Vegas and retained his WBO junior lightweight title.

Lomachenko retains WBO junior lightweight title, Walters cries uncle after seventh round

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KO) retained his WBO junior lightweight title against Nicholas Walters (26, 1-1, 21 KO) of Jamaica on November 26 in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan arena. Walters retired after the seventh round, resulting in a win for Lomachenko. Referee Tony Weeks asked Walters if he wanted to continue before the start of the eighth round and Walters replied, “No, I don’t.”

By the seventh round, Lomachenko had landed 33 percent of the punches he had thrown (30 out of 90). Walters had landed nearly 15 percent (five out of 34). Promoter Bob Arum, overseeing his 2,000th event after 50 years in boxing, noted, “We watched a modern master, a magician in action tonight.

Sportsline

Tennis

• Elina Svitolina and Lesia Tsurenko advanced to the second round of the VTB Kremlin Cup tennis tournament in Moscow on October 15-23. The two Ukrainian players earned a bye in the first round. In women’s doubles, Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok won 6-2, 6-4 in the first round against Raluca Olaru of Romania and Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain. Olga Savchuk and Anastasia Rodioniova of Austria played against Timea Babos of Hungary and Anastasia Pavlychenkova of Russia. • Sergiy Stakhovksy lost 4-6, 7-6(4), 2-6 against Jordan Thompson of Australia in the quarterfinal of the Vietnam Open on October 10-16 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Sportsline

Fencing

• Ukraine’s junior women’s fencing foil team finished in fourth place at the Timisoara Foil Junior World Cup team tournament in Timisoara, Romania, on September 10. Ukraine earned 36 points, and in the third-place match lost 36-45 against Japan. • Ukraine’s men’s epee team won bronze after defeating Switzerland 45-31 in the third-place match at the European Championships in Torun, Poland, that concluded on June 25. Ukraine’s men’s saber team finished in 10th place, the women’s epee team finished in eighth place, and the women’s foil team finished in seventh place. Gymnastics

• Ihor Radivilov’s signature maneuver was accepted by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), along with four other skills in men’s gymnastics, for consideration by its Men’s Technical Committee at the Olympic Games.

Sportsline

Soccer

• On October 16, Ukraine, represented by the Ukrainian American Sports Club Tryzub, won 4-3 in penalty kicks after the match ended in a scoreless draw against the U.S.A, in the quarterfinal of the Philadelphia International Unity Cup at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Ukraine advances to the semifinal against the Ivory Coast on October 23 at Temple University. In the knockout round, Ukraine won 8-0 against Italy on October 8. In the group stage, Ukraine won 3-2 against Guatemala on September 10, won 5-0 against Sudan on September 18 and won 6-0 against Bhutan on September 25. The final match is scheduled for November 5 at Citizens Bank Park.

Members of the Ukrainian Running Club New York, the organizers of Vyshyvanka Run.

Dozens participate in Vyshyvanka Run in New York

NEW YORK – Nearly 100 participants, many dressed in Ukrainian embroidered shirts, others in Ukrainian-themed attire and some draped in Ukrainian flags, converged on Central Park in New York for five- and three-kilometer runs and a one-mile walk on August 28. Hosted by the Ukrainian Running Club New York (URC NY), the race was known as the Vyshyvanka Run. Some of the racers even sang Ukrainian songs as they ran. The race also marked the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence Day. Reports of the race were carried by Vogue.com, including a write-up by Liana Satenstein, who also ran the race and in her article claims to be of Ukrainian descent.

Canoe sprint gold medalist Serhii Yemelianov celebrates the win in the (KL3) 200-meter race with a time of 39.810 seconds.

Ukraine in Rio: a Paralympic power

In the international sports competition arena these days, the United States, Russia, China and Great Britain are almost always atop the leader board. Every four years the above four countries rule the medals tables at the Olympics and Paralympics. The last dozen years have seen one underdog nation turn into a world superpower once the Paralympics begin. Sixth in Athens (2004), fourth at both Beijing (2008) and London (2012), Ukraine went one better in 2016, finishing a remarkable third in the medal table at Rio – a position Ukraine held for most of the competition. Ukraine proudly accumulated 117 total medals, including 41 gold, 37 silver and 39 bronze.