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Ukrainian men's gymnastics team qualifies for Paris Olympics

by Abbey Fenbert October 2, 2023 2:13 AM 1 min read
Ukrainian Gymnast Oleg Verniaiev competes on the pommel horse during the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium on Sept. 30. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
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The Ukrainian men's gymnastics team won 12th place at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Oct. 1, qualifying for competition in the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Ukrainian team beat out Brazil by 166 thousandths of a point to secure the final available spot in the Paris Olympics.

Oleg Verniaiev, Donetsk native and leader of the Ukrainian men's gymnastics team, spoke about the difficulties of training in the midst of Russia's full-scale war.

"There were about five or six months that I couldn’t properly train because of the situation," Verniaiev said.

"It’s getting better, we’re getting back on track. It used to be that we had three to five incoming threat alerts daily — when rockets fly to Ukraine — and each time we’d have to go down to the basement and wait it out.”

At the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Russia won the gold medal in men's gymnastics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not invite Russia to the 2024 Games, effectively freeing a spot for another country's team.

However, Russian athletes will be allowed to participate in the Paris Olympics under a neutral flag.

In July, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) announced a similar decision, saying that "individual neutral athletes" from Russia and Belarus could compete in FIG events.

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