Five-time Olympic champion in artistic gymnastics, five-time world champion, President of the Women's Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation Nellie Kim upheld the open address of athletes to the international community and Belarusian public.
“I support the open address of Belarus’ sports community to the international Olympic movement, which declares the right of every athlete and coach to participate in international sports competitions under the flag of their country.
The mission of each athlete is defined in the Olympic Charter. This is the right to demonstrate strength, dexterity, skill and fair play on the home turf and internationally,” the eminent gymnast noted.
Nellie Kim noted that athletes participate in tournaments solely out of a desire to compete, not to show their political affiliation, to demonstrate their political views, the superiority of one ideology over another or commitment to some political movement.
"I call on the international sports community and the Olympic movement to continue to support the fundamental principles of sport declared by founder of the Olympic movement Baron de Coubertin. Let's leave politics to politicians, and let's give arenas to athletes and spectators!"
The open address of famous Belarusian athletes, champions and medalists of the Olympic Games, world, European and national championships to the international and Belarusian public was opened for signing at athletes.by at the end of November 2020. A total of 5,341 signatures have already been collected in support of the address of the Belarusian sports community.
Among those who have supported the address are well-known athletes, champions and medalists of the Olympic Games: Aliaksei Abalmasau (canoe sprint), Nikolai Alekhin (fencing), Andrey Barbashinsky (handball), Andrei Bahdanovich and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich (canoe sprint), Sergey Bulygin (biathlon), Dmitry Dovgalyonok (canoe sprint), Ekaterina Karsten (rowing), Dzianis Harazha (canoe sprint), Anton Kushnir (aerials), Ihar Makarau (judo), Aleksandr Maseykov (canoe sprint), Aleksandr Medved (freestyle wrestling), Sergei Martynov (shooting), Ksenia Sankovich (rhythmic gymnastics), Yanina Provalinskaya-Korolchik (athletics; shot put), Yelena Khloptseva (rowing), Natalia Tsilinskaya (cycling), Liubou Charkashyna (rhythmic gymnastics), Valery Shary (weightlifting), Igor Lapshin (athletics).
The address has also been signed by prominent athletes who are now preparing for the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo: Katsiaryna Halkina (rhythmic gymnastics), Uladzislau Hanrachou (trampoline), Alina Harnasko (rhythmic gymnastics), Yauheni Karaliok (cycling), Iryna Kurachkina (freestyle wrestling), Maryna Litvinchuk (canoe sprint), Vasilisa Marzalyuk (women’s wrestling), Mariya Makharynskaya (trampoline), Anastasiya Prokopenko (modern pentathlon), Aleh Rabtsau (trampoline), Anastasiia Salos (rhythmic gymnastics), Aryna Sabalenka (tennis), Hanna Tserakh (cycling), Ivan Tsikhan (athletics), Dzmitry Tratsiakou (canoe sprint), Ali Shabanau (freestyle wrestling), Ibrahim Saidau (freestyle wrestling), Aliaksandr Hrabovik (Greco-Roman wrestling). Prominent coaches including Olga Vlasova (trampoline), Olena Zubrilova (biathlon), Viktor Kamotski (cross-country skiing), Spartak Mironovich (handball), Irina Leparskaya (rhythmic gymnastics), and Anatoly Varivonchik (ice hockey) also signed the address.
Athletes and coaches are unanimous in their opinion: the Belarusian Olympic team should perform at the Games under the national flag and should not be subjected to pressure.