A Ukrainian Paralympian Says Russia 'Destroyed' His House & He Won A Medal The Next Day
"My house where I live, it was bombed."
A Ukrainian athlete won bronze at the 2022 Beijing Paralympics one day after losing his house to Russian shelling during the invasion of Ukraine.
Needless to say, it was an extremely emotional moment for him.
Dmytro Suiarko is a visually impaired Nordic skier, and this is his second Paralympic Games.
He won bronze in his biathlon event on Tuesday, but he later admitted that the Russian invasion was weighing on him throughout the event, and he only wished he could've done better.
"Very hard concentration is needed in biathlon and I missed twice because yesterday my house where I live, it was bombed and destroyed," he said at a news conference, per USA Today.
"I am happy, but you know the situation in Ukraine."
Suiarko is from Chernihiv, Ukraine, which is about 150 kilometres from the country's capital, Kyiv.
He didn't share any information about his family at the news conference, but we can only imagine the questions he's been asking himself this week.
Russian forces have been shelling Ukrainian cities for over two weeks now, with disastrous results. Earlier this week, for instance, a Russian airstrike hit a maternity hospital where pregnant women and children were reportedly inside.
Ukrainian athletes at the Paralympics have been using their platforms to help encourage peace throughout the conflict.
Grygorii Vovchynskyi, for example, won gold at the standing 6-kilometre biathlon event and then looked to the camera.
"Please, no war in Ukraine. Please," he said.
An emotional moment for Grygorii Vovchynskyi \n\nHe won Ukraine's first gold medal at the 2022 #Paralympics in the men's Para biathlon 6km sprint standing event and leaves the finish area with a messagepic.twitter.com/DFd1Fyf64b— CBC Sports (@CBC Sports) 1646461399
Suiarko shared a similar message at his press conference after winning bronze.
"I am very happy, but not 100% [...] Because in my country there is a very big situation and I want peace for Ukraine."
Despite the war, Ukraine has had an impressive run at the Paralympics. Ukrainians were in third place with 19 total medals as of Thursday, including six gold. They trail only China and Canada in the medal standings.
The Paralympics run until Sunday, March 13.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.