Archive for July, 2012

London Olympics Medal update–July 31, 2012 (Updated)

July 31st, 2012 3 comments

Here is a recap of how the medal race is going after day 4 of Olympic competition for both Canada and Ukraine:




Divers Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel have claimed bronze in the women’s three-metre synchronized event.

The result will put the 30-year-old Heymans into the history books as she becomes the first female diver to reach the podium in four consecutive Olympic Games.

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Edit: Minutes after I posted, Canada picked up two more Bronze medals, then a few hours later another Bronze:

The diving team of Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito captured Canada’s second medal at the London Olympics.

Filion of Laval, Que., and Montreal’s Benfeito won bronze Tuesday in the women’s 10-metre synchronized event.

Meanwhile, Antoine Valois-Fortier won a bronze in the man’s 81-kg judo competition.

The 22-year-old from Quebec City defeated American Travis Stevens 1-0 to win Canada’s first judo medal since Nicholas Gill won silver in 2000.

Just before lunch in Canada, Christine Girard of White Rock, B.C. won the fourth bronze of the Games in the women’s 63-kg. category.

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Gold medallist Yana Shemyakina of Ukraine kisses her medal during the award ceremony for the women's epee individual fencing competition at the ExCel venue at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 30, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Ukraine’s Yana Shemyakina won gold in the women’s individual epee after a nail-biting 9-8 extra-time win over reigning Olympic champion Britta Heidemann of Germany at the London Games on Monday.

Twelfth seed Shemyakina was a surprise winner, having worked her way through the preliminaries.

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And the Olympics are not without controversy already:


For a glorious moment, the team (Ukraine) was able to revel in the fact that, after a late miracle, they were the bronze medalists in the men’s team gymnastic competition in the 2012 Olympics.

Unfortunately for them, that miracle proved to good to be true, and Ukraine was all of a sudden out of the medals in fourth place. That fourth-place finish is territory that very few felt Ukraine could occupy. Most did not consider them a legitimate medal threat.

Consequently, that fourth-place finish should be a great source of pride for the team. Instead, it will now be tinged with the memories of losing a medal they very temporarily owned. Due to a judge’s error, the Ukrainian team must now reconcile the feelings of losing out on a medal they thought they had.

The scoring error occurred on Japan’s Kohei Uchimura pommel horse routine. He fell on his dismount and was initially awarded a score of 13.466. This was low enough that it caused Japan to fall from second to fourth, which moved Great Britain and Ukraine up to second and third respectively.

However, Japan filed a protest and after minutes of deliberation it was concluded that the judges did not give Uchimura a high enough difficulty score, and his score was raised enough for Japan to hold onto second. As a result, the sport now has a new, highly-visible black eye.

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And some bazar actions are revealing true intentions:

Ukraine and Georgia have protested that descriptions of some Russian athletes’ birthplaces on the official London 2012 website make the countries seem like part of Russia.

Karolina Sevastyanova, a Russian rhythmic gymnast, is listed as from “Ukraine Region (UKR)”; canoeist Alexey Korovashkov apparently hails from Ukraina Region (RUS).

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It seems we are turning back the clock on progress:

The Ukrainian parliament’s press service has announced that a controversial language bill that gives Russian the status of “a regional language” in 13 of Ukraine’s 27 regions has been signed by the speaker.

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Categories: canada, olympics, sports, ukraine Tags:

‘Save Soyuzivka–Now, not later!’

July 27th, 2012 1 comment

Two weeks ago I attended the traditional American Soyuzivka festival (a.k.a. the Suzi-Q) in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. The festival is hosted on a Ukrainian summer heritage centre complete with cabins, campgrounds, a pool, and a bar among other amenities. Ruslana performed as well as other Ukrainian and American performers including Peter from the 60’s band Peter, Paul and Mary (who’s parents are from Ukraine).

I had a fantastic time, but a dire message was stressed this year as the heritage centre is undergoing serious funding issues and appeals for help from the community:

The installation of a new boiler and heating system triggered a devastating oil discharge on Soyuzvika property, identified in the spring of 2011. The catastrophic event has resulted in almost $1,000,000 in clean up costs, which was directed, supervised and mandated by the New York State environmental authorities. Although Soyuzvika has taken legal action against the servicers/suppliers we feel are responsible, the clean up and remediation costs are extensive and immediate. The good news is that the oil discharge has been contained—but mandated monitoring and remediation efforts will continue for some years. We need your help in this!

Donations can be made to the following 501©3 corporation (which is tax deductible for Americans):

Ukrainian National Foundation – Soyuzvika Heritage Fund
UNF. PO Box 280 2200 Rt 10
Parsippany, NJ
(973) 292-9800


You can watch a lot of the performances of Soyuzvika on YouTube

Categories: usa Tags:

Protest in support of the Ukrainian language–Wednesday in Toronto

July 16th, 2012 13 comments

The League of Ukrainian Canadians is rallying support for the defense of the Ukrainian language, as the Russian language bill inches closer to becoming law.

When: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 6:00PM

Where: Consulate General of Ukraine, 2275 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Etobicoke.

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Categories: canada, event Tags:

Gareth Jones, Holodomor reporter on BBC documentary tonight

July 5th, 2012 No comments

From the BBC:

A Welsh journalist who once flew with Adolf Hitler, helped expose genocide in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union and died in mysterious circumstances, is the subject of a new TV documentary.

Gareth Jones, circa 1932

Gareth Jones, who was also a personal aide to former prime minister David Lloyd George, helped expose Stalin’s "holodomor" policy of deliberate starvation.

This claimed the lives of anywhere between 4m and 10m peasant farmers in the Ukraine during 1932/33.

Jones also formed relations with the Nazis in Germany and even flew aboard Hitler’s private plane.

But in 1935 he was murdered in murky circumstances while reporting from Japanese-occupied Mongolia.

Now Hitler, Stalin and Mr Jones, on BBC Four’s Storyville strand on Thursday, is examining the 77-year-old mystery of his death.

Backed by Lloyd George’s credibility, he was able to travel throughout the USSR and met Russian politicians, while his language skills allowed him to speak to peasant farmers.

However, his warm Soviet welcome would cool abruptly in March 1933, when Jones called a press conference in Berlin to reveal the findings of his two months undercover in starving Ukraine.

The mainstream media poured scorn on Jones’ account, and for a time he was reduced to obscurity. By mid-1933 he had returned home to Barry to live with his parents and he worked as a junior reporter on the Western Mail.

But months later he learned about a new international scandal, in the shape of the Japanese occupation of Inner Mongolia, and he set off there as soon as he could to raise the funds.


The trip would prove his downfall, as he and his companion, a German journalist named Muller, were captured by bandits in remote countryside, after being turned away by Japanese forces.

Mr Carey said Jones’s death had always been surrounded by controversy, as it was unclear whether the bandits were tipped off by the Japanese, or by the Russian secret police, the NKVD.

"Until now all that was known for certain was that Muller was released on a highly spurious pretext about having been freed on parole in order to raise the ransom, and two days later Gareth was shot for no conceivable reason," he said.

"Probably we’ll never know for certain what happened. However our investigations have shown that the Chinese contact who loaned Jones and Muller a car to travel to Mongolia was definitely an NKVD agent, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that Muller might also have been."

Gareth Jones died a largely discredited figure, on the eve of his 30th birthday, the truth about Stalin’s holodomor only coming to light years later.

However, today he is revered as a national hero in the Ukraine, and is honoured at both Cambridge and Aberystwyth universities.

Hitler, Stalin and Mr Jones is on BBC Four’s Storyville strand on Thursday at 21:00 BST.

North American viewers are unfortunately out of luck as the BBC America channel does not air the Storyville documentaries. Only if you get BBC over free-to-air satellite or have a proxy to the iPlayer.

Categories: holodomor, uk Tags: