Andriy Shevchenko’s September 3 press conference sent tremors across Ukraine’s football landscape. The coach rocked and shocked the public when he revealed his reasons for departing the coaching duties of the country’s national team.
Ukraine’s national soccer team performed well at the Euro 2020 soccer championship, benefiting from some good luck, but, nonetheless, exhibiting positive results. Indeed, the quarterfinal showing by the young Ukrainian squad, still in a development stage, turned out to be quite successful.
Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko is more careful than most when reminiscing about his eventful past. He was understandably wary of saying something which could have inflamed tensions back home in Ukraine, even as he prepared for the biggest match of his career in late May – the Champions League final. Zinchenko freely admitted it was the “toughest moment” of his life when he fled his native land in 2014 when war broke out in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine has won the right to host the 2023 FIFA World Cup for school children and the 2023 Winter World Gymnasium. The decisions were made by the International School Sports Federation and announced by Ukraine’s Minister of Education and Science Serhii Shkarlet on September 17.
Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina continued her U.S. Open build up by reaching and winning her first final of 2021 at the hardcourt Chicago Women’s Open on August 28. The No. 1 seed’s decision to accept a last-minute wild card paid off with her successful run to her 19th career final and 16th career singles title. She had not reached a final since her title run in Strasbourg last September. Since earning her bronze at the Tokyo Games, Svitolina lost her opening matches in both Montreal and Cincinnati.
Her positive momentum was ignited in Tokyo when Elina Svitolina (ranked fourth by the WTA as of September 13 with 4,860 points) won the bronze medal in women’s tennis at the 2020 Olympics. A late decision to accept a wild-card entrance to the Chicago Open as a tune-up to the U.S. Open (held on August 30-September 12 in Flushing, N.Y.) proved most fortuitous as she won that tournament.
Dayana Yastremska had not won a tennis match since playing Simona Halep of Romania in two tight sets in Rome last fall. An exonerated Yastremska made a triumphant return to action at the inaugural Hamburg European Open on July 8 after she defeated Magdalena Frech of Poland 7-6(5), 6-1 in her first match since she was cleared of an anti-doping rule violation charge in June of this year.
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Dayana Yastremska and Max Purcell of Australia lost in the mixed doubles semifinal on September 8 against Giuliana Olmos of Mexico and Marcelo Arevalo of Argentina 6-4, 4-6, 6-10 at the U.S. Open. In the quarterfinal, Yastremska and Purcell defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Fabrice Martin of France 6-2, 6-3.
Seventy-four medals in 2008, 84 in 2012, and 117 in 2016 set the foundation that Ukraine is indeed a world Paralympics powerhouse. Expectations were high going into the 2020 Games in Tokyo despite the challenges and obstacles posed by the one-year delay on training and the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking a cue from the Ukrainian Olympic team’s performance earlier this summer when expectations were exceeded, the Paralympians continued their dominance with their own outstanding achievements. Team Ukraine won an astounding 98 total medals, including 24 gold, 47 silver, and 27 bronze, placing them fifth among all nations (Ukraine ranked sixth overall when ranked by gold medal victories.) They were second overall in silver medals. The four nations that finished ahead of Ukraine with more total medals were China, Great Britain, the Refugee Paralympics Team and the United States.
Maksym Krypak and Yevhen Bohodaiko spearheaded a Ukrainian gold-medal charge at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on August 28 as Ukraine witnessed five of its athletes atop the podium at the Paralympic Games. Bohodaiko secured his first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 in the men’s (SB6) 100-meter breaststroke event, adding to his two titles from London 2012 and his hat-trick at Rio 2016. Bohodaiko’s time of 1:20.13 seconds saw him narrowly win the event for the third consecutive Paralympic Games.
Oksana Masters has been making an impression on the Para sports world for almost a decade, “mastering” whichever sport she tries. Owning eight Paralympic medals across three different sporting disciplines, Masters was not quite content. In Tokyo she managed to fill another hole in her athletic resume by winning the women’s time trial (H4-5), claiming her first medal in cycling. It was her first gold medal at a summer Paralympic Games.