Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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IOC Rejects Ukraine Request to Wear Black Armbands

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014  |  Updated 8:32 AM CDT
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The IOC rejected Ukraine's request to wear black armbands to honor those who died in the Kiev protests.

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Ukraine's Olympic Committee says the IOC has rejected a request for its athletes at the Sochi Games to wear black armbands honoring those who died in violent protests in Kiev.

The committee says on its website it wants to "share deep pain over the loss of fellow countrymen" and wear armbands as an "expression of sorrow and sympathy."

The committee says the IOC replied that this was "impossible according to the Olympic Charter." The IOC reprimanded Norwegian cross-country skiers earlier in the games for wearing black armbands in tribute to an athlete's brother.

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Later in the day, IOC President Thomas Bach expressed his condolences to victims of the violence in Ukraine and praised Ukraine's Olympic athletes for continuing to compete at the Sochi Games. Ukraine sent a team of 43 athletes to Sochi.

Bach says the IOC's "thoughts and sympathy are with the Ukrainian team at what must be very difficult time."

Bach says "the way they have continued to represent their nation with great dignity is a credit to them and their country."

He says "their presence here is a symbol that sport can build bridges and help to bring people from different backgrounds together in peace."

The violence in Ukraine between riot police and protesters has left at least 25 people dead and 241 injured. The Ukrainian delegation in Sochi is led by Sergei Bubka, the Olympic pole vault great who has urged both sides to lay down their weapons.

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