- © RIA Novosti. Andrey Stenin
© RIA Novosti. Andrey Stenin
SOCHI, February 19 (R-Sport) - The International Olympic Committee has turned down a request from Ukrainian athletes at the Sochi Games to wear black armbands in memory of the 25 people killed in violent protests in Kiev, the country's officials said Wednesday.
The deaths came as a result of clashes between the police and anti-government demonstrators in the Ukrainian capital overnight, reports said.
"Sharing deep pain over the loss of fellow countrymen, the Ukrainian Olympic committee appealed to the International Olympic Committee to allow Ukrainian athletes wear black armbands as a sign of mourning, an expression of sorrow and sympathy," a statement on the organization's website said.
"The answer was received from the IOC that in accordance with the Olympic charter it is not possible to do this," the statement said.
The IOC has a policy of forbidding any form of political expression during the Olympics, and rebuked Norway for allowing its Sochi competitors to wear stickers in memory of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who died an accident two years ago.
Separately Wednesday, Ukraine pulled out of the women's cross-country team sprint classic through injury.