February 1, 2019

2018: Sports: Ukraine’s athletes prove they’re simply the best


Edmonton Partyzany, champions of the third annual Alexander Cup USCAK hockey tournament, celebrate their win on February 18 in Edmonton, Alberta.


Simply the best – better than all the rest! That turn of the phrase (from a song sung by Tina Turner) could describe Ukrainian athletes during 2018.


Oleksandr Abramenko celebrates Ukraine’s first individual gold medal in men’s freestyle aerials on February 18 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Oleksandr Abramenko stunned the aerial skiing competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics by winning Ukraine’s first ever men’s individual gold medal. Paralympian Vitaliy Lukyanenko amazed in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with his two gold medal victories in men’s biathlon. Daria Bilodid (48 kg) won gold medals in five international tournaments to astonish fans of judo. Andriy Govorov startled the swimming universe when he shattered the world record in men’s 50-m butterfly. Fifty-seven women set a new world record for a synchronized skydive in Ukraine, changing formations three times during 90 seconds of free fall.

Mikey Williams/TopRank.com

Lightweight WBO and WBA champion Vasyl Lomachenko celebrates his unification title win against Jose Pedraza of Puerto Rico on December 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Meanwhile, Vasyl Lomachenko continued his development in professional boxing, earning near-unanimous recognition as the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Pro tennis star Elina Svitolina did the same, winning five tournaments, climbing to a No. 4 world ranking in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) with realistic aspirations of attaining the No. 1 ranking in the near future.

Elite Ukrainian athletes truly astounded the sports world in 2018 with staggering results on the biggest and brightest stages of international competitions in venues on nearly every continent. It is interesting to note Abramenko, Lukyanenko, Bilodid and Govorov are amateur athletes, virtually unheard of prior to their shockingly phenomenal achievements. A still-young Ukrainian nation has begun to churn out some special athletes despite limited resources in the areas of recruitment, training and development of athletic talent.

A few more athletic competitions would have been won by these amateurs if not for a decree from the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth and Sports on March 4 that ordered Ukrainian athletes not to compete in any competitions held in Russia because of Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea and their widespread doping in sports.

Our sports correspondent’s annual awards:

• Outstanding Male Athlete – Oleksandr Abramenko, ski aerials

• Andriy Govorov, swimming

• Outstanding Female Athlete – Daria Bilodid, judo

• Rookie of the Year – Marta Kostyuk, tennis

• Most Improved Athlete – Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, basketball

• Most Inspirational Athlete – Oksana Masters, U.S.A. Paralympian

• Team of the Year – Ukraine Paralympics Team

Here are 2018’s athletic achievements, alphabetically by sport, along with headlines and highlights from the Ukrainian sports world including our diaspora.

In ATHLETICS, Alina Shukh won gold in women’s javelin (55.95 m) as part of the heptathlon at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Finland on July 10-15. Four Ukrainians won gold at the 2018 World Athletics Masters Championship in Malaga, Spain on September 4-16: Lyudmyla Pushkina (W50) in the women’s 2,000-m race-walk, Liliia Apolosova (W40) in the women’s 600-gram javelin throw, Nataliia Radionova (W45) in women’s 9.080-kg hammer throw and Serhii Havras (M60) in the men’s 600-gram javelin throw. Ukrainian gold medals at the Gloria Cup Athletics Tournament on September 11 in Turkey: Yuriy Cheban in men’s single 200-m canoe sprint, Mykhailo Romanchuk in men’s 1,500-m freestyle swimming, Ivan Pushkin (M85) in the men’s 5,000-m race-walk.

His hometown of Cherkasy, Ukraine, was beaming with pride when BASKETBALL player Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk achieved his ultimate goal of being drafted to play in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers called his name 47th overall at the 2018 NBA Draft after the Ukrainian successfully completed his mental and physical development plan at basketball powerhouse Kansas University. Ukrainian Issuf Sanon was the 44th overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2018 NBA Draft. Born and raised in Donetsk, Issuf’s father is a native of West Africa who met his Ukrainian wife while studying in Ukraine. The 6-4 combo guard plays for Olimpija in Slovenia.

Ukraine’s mixed relay team (Y. Zaravok, I. Varvarynets, A. Pryma and D. Pidruchniy) won gold and Varvarynets won gold in the women’s 7.5-km sprint at the European BIATHLON Championship in Italy on January 24. Yuliia Dzhima won gold in the women’s 15-km individual race at the BMW IBU Biathlon World Cup in Slovenia on December 3-9.


Unified cruiserweight champion (WBO, WBA, IBF, WBC) Oleksandr Usyk receives the Muhammad Ali Trophy after becoming champion of the World Boxing Super Series during the final on July 21 against Murat Gassiev of Russia in Moscow.

Oleksandr Usyk beat Mairis Briedis in Riga, Latvia, on January 27 to add the WBC cruiserweight belt to his WBO title as part of the World BOXING Super Series tournament. Flyweight Artem Dalakian’s decision victory over Brian Viloria in Inglewood, Calif., on February 24 earned him the vacant WBA flyweight title. On March 17, Oleksandr Gvozdyk won by unanimous decision against Mehdib Amar at Madison Square Garden (MSG) to win the interim light heavyweight WBC title. Gvozdyk, nicknamed “The Nail,” may be the next big thing in pro boxing, with apologies to fellow Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko. The light-heavyweight division and all of its championship titles are his for the taking. Lomachenko strives to be the best fighter in the world and the junior lightweight champion has been called “the best fighter I’ve seen since Muhammad Ali” by Top Rank’s Bob Arum, a boxing expert and legendary promoter. His dismantling of Jorge Linares on May 12 at MSG in New York capped off his daring pursuit of becoming the fastest man to wear a third weight class belt. He achieved his feat in his 12th fight, besting the previous record by eight bouts. On May 11, Lomachenko and his father swept the Boxing Writers Association of America awards for fighter and trainer of the year. He underwent shoulder surgery on May 12 following an injury sustained in the Linares fight. June 10 saw the induction of Vitaliy “Dr. Ironfist” Klitschko into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastoga, N.Y. The first Ukrainian to be inducted concluded his acceptance speech with the proclamation “Slava Ukraini!” A true sportsman, champion of the ring, but also a champion in life, Vitaliy praised younger brother Wladimir for motivating him throughout his life. Flyweight Artem Dalakian (17-0, 12 KO) retained his WBA title by eighth-round TKO of Sirichai Thaiyen on June 17 in Kyiv. Oleksandr Usyk made history on July 21 when he became the undisputed cruiserweight world champion with his unanimous decision victory over Russian Murat Gassiev in Moscow. He was the first fighter in cruiserweight history to unify all four world title belts (WBC, WBO, WBA and IBF) and won the single elimination World Boxing Super Series single-elimination tournament. The World Boxing Council convention was held in Kyiv on October 1-5, attracting 700 participants from 160 countries, including the Klitschko brothers. Vitaliy and Wladimir Klitschko were presented awards for inclusion in the Guinness World Records for 2019 as champion brothers with the largest number of fights (116) at the above WBC convention. Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk successfully defended his four titles against Tony Bellew with an eighth-round knockout November 10 in Manchester, England. Experts are speculating Usyk may move up to the heavyweight division after some time off. Lomachenko dominated Jose Pedraza in a December 8 boxing match at MSG’s Hulu Theater. The unanimous 12-round decision allowed him to unify two lightweight world titles – Pedraza’s WBO title with his WBA belt. Denys Berinchyk won the WBO lightweight title by defeating Rosekie Cristobal with a seventh-round TKO on December 12 in Brovary, Kyiv Oblast. Flyweight champion Artem Dalakian won by sixth-round TKO against Gregorio Lebron on December 15 in Kyiv to defend his WBA title. ESPN named cruiserweight unified champion Usyk as fighter of the year, beating out, among others, fellow Ukrainian Lomachenko.

In CANOEING Ukraine won two gold medals in the junior division (D. Ozymok, P. Semeniuk, O. Yatsiuk + I. Sharhorodskyi) in men’s C-4 500-m race and Ozymok in the C-1 men’s 200-m race and two gold in the U-23 division, Liudmyla Luzan in C-1 women’s 500-m race and Oleh Kukharyk in the K-1 men’s 500-m race.

Kamila Hryshchenko, 16, won the European Youth Rapid + Blitz CHESS Championship in Romania on July 31-August 5.

Ukrainian gold medal winners at the 2018 European Championships held in Glasgow and Berlin on August 2-12: Maryan Zakalnytskyy (men’s 50-km race-walk), Nataliya Pryshchepa (women’s 800-m), synchronized swim team in the combination free team event, Andriy Govorov (men’s 50-m butterfly), Mykhailo Romanchuk (men’s 400-m freestyle and 800-m freestyle), mixed diving team (O. Kolodiy and S. Lyshun) in team event and Roman Gladysh in men’s cycling scratch race.

In FENCING Olga Kharlan won gold in women’s saber at the Grand Prix in Seoul, South Korea on March 30 and also at the team tournament in Antalya, Turkey on May 27. Yana Shemyakina won gold in women’s epee at the team tournament in Slovakia on September 16.

Bronislav (Bronko) Nagurski was a college All-American FOOTBALL player at the University of Minnesota, where he played offense and defense before going on to pro stardom with the Chicago Bears. For a brief while he retired, became a pro wrestler and returned to the NFL’s Bears. He was elected into the College Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame as a charter member. He was elected into the Ukrainian Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Matt Kuchar entered the 2018 PGA season desperately needing a big win. Jim Furyk looked forward to his new challenge as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Matt Kuchar’s scores of 64-64-65-69 totaled a 27-under 262, breaking the Mayakoba GOLF Classic tournament record by one stroke and earning him the eighth PGA tour title of his career on November 8-11.

TeleProstir Studio

Two-time Stanley Cup winner Johnny Bucyk (left) with film director Volodymyr Mula of the documentary “Uke” in Boston on June 27.

Keith Tkachuk’s youngest son, Brady, was selected fourth overall by Eugene Melnyk’s Ottawa Senators in the 2018 National HOCKEY League Entry Draft. Other Ukrainians picked were Logan Hutsko (third round by Florida), Aidan Dudas (fourth round by L.A.) and Eric Florchuk (last overall selection in the seventh round by Washington). “My main message is to show that the former players are proud of their Ukrainian heritage, but haven’t completely discovered their roots on a deeper level” was Volodymyr Mula’s description of his third documentary film about professional NHL players of Ukrainian descent. Wayne and Dave Babych, NHL stars, departed for Ukraine on November 6 to work with Ukrainian hockey players as announced by the Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine. The brothers attended the Carpathian Hockey League Tournament November 9-11 near Lviv and conducted a three-day skills camp for Halitskiy Levy HC. They traveled to the Brody region to visit their ancestral home in the village of Biliavtsi.

Fifteen service members representing Ukraine at the 2018 INVICTUS GAMES in Sydney, Australia on October 20-27 won a total of 20 medals (seven gold), besting their 2017 initial appearance by six total medals. Gold medalists included Serhiy Lichytsky, Oleksandr Belobokov and Oleksandr Havrylenko.

Oleksandr Gordienko (+100 kg) and Daria Bilodid (48 kg) won gold at the World Grand Prix in Tunis, Tunisia, on January 19-21. Yelyzaveta Kalanina (+78 kg) won gold at the European JUDO Open in Odivelas, Portugal, on February 3-4. Daria Bilodid won gold at the International Judo Federation Grand Slam in Paris on February 10-11. Daria Bilodid won gold at the Judo Grand Slam in Dusseldorf, Germany, on February 23-25. Anastasia Sapsai (+78 kg) won gold after defeating Mercedez Szigatvari in the final at the European Judo Open Women 2018 in Warsaw on March 3-4. Yelyzaveta Kalanina won gold by way of defeating Anamari Velensek at the Grand Prix Agadir, Morocco, on March 10-11. At the Veteran European Judo Championships in Scotland on June 16-17, winning gold medals were: Laryssa Masenko (70 kg), Sergiy Salaban (90 kg), Illya Chymchyuri (90 kg) and Nugzar Mesablishvili (90 kg). Daria Bilodid won gold at the Veteran European Judo Cup in Celje, Poland, on June 23-24. Hievorh Manukian (73 kg) and Kateryna Sablieva (44 kg) won gold at the Junior European Judo Cup in Gdynia, Poland, on July 7-8. Daria Bilodid won gold at the Judo Grand Prix in Croatia on July 28-29. Dilshot Khalmatov (55 kg) and Kateryna Sablieva won gold at the Junior Judo European Cup in Hungary on August 11-12. Ukrainian gold medalists at the IBSA Judo World Cup in Kazakhstan on September 8-9 were Inna Cherniak (52 kg), Serhii Kotenko (73 kg) and Oleksandr Nazarenko (90 kg). Ukraine won two gold medals at the Junior European Judo Championships on September 14-16 in Sofia, Bulgaria: Dilshot Khalmatov (55 kg) and Hievorh Manukian (73 kg). Daria Bilodid (48 kg) won gold at the World Judo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, on September 20, becoming the youngest world champion (age 17 at the time of her win) in judo in her weight class. Bohdan Pushenko (81 kg) won gold at the Cadet European Judo Cup Koper in Slovenia on October 27-28. Ukraine won two gold medals at the Judo Grand Prix at The Hague on November 17-18: Yakiv Khammo (+100 kg) and Maryna Cherniak (48 kg).

Vladyslav Rudnyev (74 kg) and Anatoliy Voloshynov (100 kg) won gold medals at the World Sambo Championship (MARTIAL ARTS) in Bucharest, Romania, on November 8-11. Vasyl Kotiash (54 kg) won gold at the European Tae Kwon Do Championship in Warsaw on November 8-11. Serhiy Nebotov (66 kg) won the world championship title in his weight division at the World Sambo Championship on December 4-5 in Serbia. In mixed martial arts heavyweight Sergey Spivak won by first-round knockout against Ivo Cuk in Kyiv on March 24, picking up the WWFC heavyweight title.

Realistic expectations for Team Ukraine at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter OLYMPICS were to win between one and three medals, with biathlon the nation’s strongest sport. Anastasiya Merkushyna followed In her parents’ footsteps and pursued biathlon as a lifestyle, culminating with a berth on Ukraine’s Olympic team. Fellow teammate Olena Pidhrushna was selected as Ukrainian flag-bearer at the Games’ opening ceremony. Ukraine sent 33 athletes to Pyeongchang, 17 men and 16 women, with the biathlon team composed of 11 competitors. Team Ukraine participated in nine sports. Although the biathletes did not perform up to their expectations, Ukraine was one of 22 countries (out of 92) to win a gold medal. Oleksandr Abramenko made history on February 18, becoming the first man to win an individual Winter Olympic gold medal for Ukraine in the aerials competition. His final score of 128.51 barely topped China’s Jia Zongyang (128.05). Ukraine-born Olena Savchenko and partner Bruno Massot won gold for Germany in the pairs free skate event with a score of 159.31, setting a world record. True sportsmanship prevailed when Ukrainian Oleksandr Abramenko and Russian Ilia Burov shared the podium after winning medals, both standing behind the Ukrainian flag and embracing in a politically defiant hug.

Ukraine amassed 22 total medals, fourth most among 49 competing countries at the 2018 PARALYMPICS held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, March 9-18. The team of 20 athletes and 10 assistants won seven gold medals, seven silver medals and eight bronze medals with a total of 14 in biathlon and eight in cross-country skiing. Outstanding individual performers were Oksana Shyshkova (five individual medals, including a gold plus relay), Liudmyla Liashenko (three medals, plus relay), Ihor Reptyukh (three medals, including a gold) and Vitaliy Lukyanenko (two gold medals). Gold medalist Taras Rad served as flag bearer at the closing ceremony. Maksym Yarovyi won a gold medal in 15-km sitting cross-country skiing and the mixed relay team won Ukraine’s final gold medal. Ukrainian Oksana Masters won five total medals in two sports (cross-country skiing and biathlon), including two golds, competing for her adopted country, the United States, and earning flag bearer privileges at the closing ceremony. This was the 28-year-old Chornobyl survivor’s fourth Paralympics. She has won a total of eight medals, including a bronze in rowing at the summer Paralympics.

Larysa Soloviova (63 kg) won gold at the World POWERLIFTING Championships in Switzerland on November 5. Volodymyr Rysiev (93 kg) set a new European record with 390 kg total and a gold medal lift of 350 kg in the clean and jerk. He set a trifecta record of 1,025 kg At the European Classic Open Junior Powerlifting Championships in Lithuania on November 24-December 2, Anatolii Novopismennyi (93 kg) was named “Best Lifter of the Open” in the adult category in three disciplines: squat, bench press and dead lift. Kristina Lieonienko (43 kg), Alina Tsikul (57 kg) and Anton Biruk (93 kg) won gold junior European titles. Tetiana Shchavinska (27 kg), Viktoria Druziaka (52 kg), Sophia Rud (63 kg) and Rostyslav Zherebtsov (59 kg) won gold medals in the junior division.

The SAILING Federation of Ukraine appealed to the World Sailing Board and the International Olympic Committee to ban sailing events in Crimea organized by the Russian Federation, asking that Ukraine host events in Crimea.

Fifty-seven women set a new world record for a synchronized skydive in Ukraine when, during 90 seconds of free fall, the skydivers changed formations three times. The previous SKYDIVING record was set in the Netherlands with 56 women.

On April 4 the Ukrainian World Congress urged officials of governments and international organizations to refrain from attending the 21st FIFA World Cup of SOCCER in Russia. Six days later the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America echoed the UWC by calling on high-ranking U.S. government officials, sports fans and industry leaders to follow the lead of the United Kingdom, Poland and Iceland and boycott the 2018 World Cup because of Russia’s continued blatant disregard for the rule of law. Nearly 62,000 spectators attended UEFA’s Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium on May 26. Ukrainian soccer great Andriy Shevchenko was the match’s ambassador and Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko earned high praise for the event’s organization, won by Real, 3-1. Russia’s success on the pitch at the 2018 FIFA World Cup was deemed suspicious because of its history of abusing performance-enhancing drugs and questionable anti-doping programs. The corrupt governing body for the sport chose not to act on any evidence of doping by Russian athletes, prioritizing the massive revenues generated by the event. Controversy arose over Croatian defender Domagoj Vida’s shouting “Glory to Ukraine” in a post-match video following his country’s elimination of Russia in the World Cup quarterfinals. Croatia fired assistant coach Ognjen Vukojevic for his role in the video and FIFA levied a $15,000 fine against the coach, which Ukraine’s soccer federation offered to pay. Ukrainian artist Andriy Yermolenko shined a light on Russia’s perceived crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine and around the world with a collection of provocative anti-Russian/anti-Putin World Cup posters that seized the Internet by storm. Ukraine’s acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun spoke for many Ukrainian sports fans while the World Cup played on in Russia: under normal circumstances she would “watch the event if it was taking place in another country,” but said that Russia’s hosting of the World Cup is “an affront to Ukrainians and all those who uphold international rule of law.” Ukraine’s U-19 team qualified for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup after finishing first in Group B. Dynamo Kyiv beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in the Ukrainian Super Cup on July 21. Shakhtar Donetsk won the Ukrainian Premier League Cup title for the 11th time. Andriy Yarmolenko signed a contract with England’s West Ham United FC. Andriy Lunin signed a contract with Real Madrid. Shevchenko and his assistants extended their contracts with the Football Federation of Ukraine until 2020. The Football Federation of Ukraine was fined 35,000 euros following a UEFA Nation’s League match between Ukraine and the Czech Republic on September 6. Ukraine will also compensate the Czech team for funds lost after eight Ukrainian fans invaded the playing field after Ukraine’s 2-1 win.

Ukraine won gold in the women’s team highlight event and gold in the women’s team free combination event at the FINA Artistic SWIMMING World Series on March 9-11 in Paris. Ukraine’s women’s team won gold in the team free combination and gold in the team free event at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2018 on May 11-13 in Samorin, Slovakia. Ukraine won gold in the women’s team free combination routine at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series on May 18-20 in Budapest. The women’s duet technical team (Yakhno/Savchuk) won gold. Ukraine won gold in the women’s team highlight. Yakhno/Savchuk also won gold in the women’s duet free event. Ukraine won gold in the women’s team technical routine at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series on May 31-June 2 in Surrey, British Columbia. Ukraine won gold in the women’s team free combination, team free event and team highlight. Yelyzaveta Yakhno won gold in the women’s solo technical routine and gold in the women’s solo free event at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series on June 7-9 in Los Angeles. Ukraine’s women’s team (M. Aleksiiva, Kashuba, Kovalenko, Shynkarenko, Zariezhna, Savchuk, V. Aleksiiva and Yakhno) won gold in the women’s team technical event, won gold in the team free combination routine, won gold in the team free event and gold in the highlight event. Andriy Govorov shattered the world record in men’s 50-m butterfly with a time of 22.27 seconds at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome on June 29-30. Mykhailo Romanchuk won gold in the men’s 1,500-m freestyle race at both the 2018 FINA World Cup in China (November 2-4) and the FINA Swimming World Cup in Tokyo (November 9-11).

Jimmie48 Photography/WTA

Tennis star Elina Svitolina celebrates her victory at the Singapore Championship on October 21-28.

TENNIS news saw Elina Svitolina capture the Brisbane International tournament on January 6, her 10th career title, besting surprise qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich (finals) after upsetting defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the semis. Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk won three qualifying matches, then dispatched 25th seeded Peng Shuai (6-2, 6-2) and Olivia Ragowska (6-3, 7-5) before succumbing to fellow Ukrainian Svitolina in the third round of the Australian Open. On February 3, Kostyuk won her second pro-level title at the ITF Women’s Circuit in Burnie, Australia. Svitolina became the third ever woman to defend her title at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (February 19-24), demolishing Russia’s Daria Kasatkina (6-4, 6-0) in the finals. She again defeated Angelique Kerber in the semis and picked up $651,347 for winning the tourney. Lesia Tsurenko won the Abierto Mexicano Telcel WTA Tournament on March 4. Svitolina won the Tie Break Tens tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5. Dayana Yastremska, 18, won the WTA tournament in Hong Kong on October 14, her first career title, bumping her to an overall ranking of No. 66. Ukrainian twin tennis players Gleb and Vadim Alekseenko received lifetime bans and were fined $250,000 each for allegedly fixing multiple matches. The October 15 ruling cited offenses at tournaments in Romania, Russia, Germany and Turkey between June 2015 and January 2016. Svitolina capped off her breakthrough season with a win at the WTA Finals in Singapore in late October. After losing much weight, changing coaches and suffering through many mid-season tournament eliminations, she bounced back from major adversity with much confidence heading into the 2019 season. Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok won the WTA Elite Trophy in Chuhai, China, on October 30-November 4.

Yuliya Yelistratova took gold at the TRIATHLON World Cup in Ecuador on October 20 with a time of 58:19.

Alla Cherkasova (68 kg) won gold at the 2018 World WRESTLING Championships on October 20-28 in Budapest. Semen Novikov (87 kg) won gold in Greco-Roman wrestling at the U23 World Championship on November 17-18 in Bucharest.

Diaspora sports news

Closer to home, in diaspora sports news, seven teams competed at the 2018 Alexander Cup USCAK Hockey Tournament held on February 17-18 in Edmonton, Alberta, raising over $1,500 for the Fight to Hope children’s charity. The local Edmonton Partyzany defeated the Edmonton Bombs in the finals of the round-robin format.

Oksana Sorochan

Some of the Ukrainian Americans who attended Ukrainian Heritage Day during the New Jersey Devils vs Vegas Golden Knights game on March 4 in Newark, N.J.

The fifth annual Ukrainian Heritage Day at the Devils took place on March 4 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The Ukrainian festival before and during the Devils-Golden Knights hockey game featured face painting, Ukrainian folk dancing, singing, Zamboni riders, national anthem singer, honor guard, “hero of the Game” Sgt. Walter Stepaniak and on-the-ice group photo of some 100 sports/cultural enthusiasts.

The 64th annual races of the Carpathian Ski Club took place at Hunter Mountain on March 17 with athletes age 5-75 competing in the family-oriented event. Fastest female and male skiers for 2018 were Talia Pawluk and Mark Blyznak.

South Windsor High School softball star Maria Hanchuk once again earned All-State first-team honors for her outstanding pitching and hitting achievements while leading het Bobcats back to the Class LL tournament.

Alex Popovich (men’s soccer, class of 1969) was named to the 2018 University of Bridgeport Athletics Hall of Fame class on August 3. The All-American and all-New England Leaguer netted 31 goals and 70 points.

The Ukrainian World Congress and its International Sports Committee supported the VII World Football Championship for Diaspora Teams on August 19-25 in Kyiv. Twelve soccer teams from 11 countries participated with players age 16-60, including amateurs and pro players. The Ukrainian team from Austria defeated the team from Poland for the championship.


Vyshyvanka Run participants stop in front of the Ukrainian Institute of America on August 26 in New York.

More than 120 Ukrainians from New York City and the surrounding area participated in the annual Vyshyvanka Run organized by the Ukrainian Running Club N.Y. on August 26. Nearly $1,300 was raised for Kyiv-based Skhodynky School for Children.

Oleksandr Zavorotnyi and Maryna Zhytska emerged as victors in the men’s and women’s divisions of the 63rd USCAK National Tennis Championships at Soyuzivka on September 1-3. Long-time player Peter Goletz was awarded the Mary Dushnyck Sportsmanship Trophy.


Participants of the VII World Football Championship for Diaspora Teams in Irpin, Kyiv Oblast, on August 19-25.