Belarusian Olympic medalist Aliaksandra Herasimenia is in the news once again as war rages on within her new home of Ukraine.
As Russian troops invaded the capital city of Kyiv, the 36-year-old mother found herself among the mass of Ukrainians arriving at the Polish border, seeking refuge from the military attacks. She was joined by her 3-year-old daughter, mother and husband, fellow Olympic swimmer Yauhen Tsurkin.
The family is now in Poland, with Herasimenia telling Reuters of what she told her daughter, “Of course I had to make something up because how do you explain to a child that war has started?”
As a result of Russia having used Belarusian territory to launch its invasion of Ukraine, Herasimenia says, “We’ve been running for a long time.
“Those who left were the best of Belarusian society, those who were against what happened after the election, those who spoke out against the violence and expressed their position.”
Herasimenia is at the helm of the Belarusian Sport Solidatary Foundation, which is an outfit supporting athletes jailed or persecuted for political views.
The push from Herasimenia and other athletes was kickstarted by Belarus’ re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. According to multiple reports, Lukashenko has been accused of election fraud, opposition members had either “been jailed or gone into exile”, and protesters of his victory were beaten by law enforcement. These accusations have resulted in widespread protests across the country.
As an example of its endeavors, in 2020 BSSF officially requested that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspend the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOCRB) for Olympic charter breaches amid violent protests in the country.
Today, Herasimenia tells Reuters, “A year and a half ago, we were the ones who were fighting for our rights, our freedom.
“We called on the Europeans, Americans and everyone in Ukraine for help. We warned that Lukashenko was very dangerous.
“It’s as if this never happened… No difference is being made between those who support Lukashenko and those who fought against him.”
At the 2012 Olympic Games, Herasimenia won two silver medals, swimming the 50m and 100m freestyle events. She later won a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
I mean, if you’re going to talk about her sporting history, you should probably also mention that she was banned for two years for using norandrosterone in 2003.
In the current circumstances anybody who defaults to deflection and whataboutism might want to pause and understand how stupid that is right now
The only reason I brought it up was because they thought it was relevant in the article to mention her Olympic medals and World Championships. Equating that to deflection or whataboutism is false equivalence.
she showed great courage and she is a model for not just athletes but all humans worried about democracy
If anybody expected military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine then it was supposed to be on the east Ukrainian border in Donetsk and Luhansk regions – far away from the major Ukrainian centers. The Belorussian allowed concentrate and support huge Russian military forces on its territory making the capital of Ukraine the direct reach (a few hours driving). Without Belorussian participation in this war the events won’t develop that dramatically and there won’t be so many civilian casualties and there would be no need for Herasimenia to flee.
Belorussia should be held as much accountable for all atrocities in this war as Russia.
Don’t let it hide in a shadow.
Belarus IS Rusia!
I’m not sure what you are trying to convey. It’s a long story and a foggy topic to discuss who is who here at swimming website. The only thing that I’m almost certain about is that Herasimenia who fled from Ukraine as a result of Russian-Belorussian aggression is the Belorussian surname and Lukashenko – the Belorussian head of state is the Ukrainian one.
Belarus is to Russia what Austria was to Nazi Germany. The official “Anschluss” is coming any day now…
Then Belarus would have looked like Ukraine or it’s leaders would have been subjected to any number of various assassinations. Alone, none of the surrounding nations would be able to withstand Russian pressure.