"We are out of politics and do not want to meddle in it. But it happens that sport is involved in politics," declared Olympic champions, Irina Merleni, Yuri Belonog and Elbrus Tadeev.   

"Yanukovich made an important contribution to Olympic movement of Ukraine. We will not leave him in trouble. We hope other sportsmen join us. Everybody backs us now," stated Tedeev.

According to his words, Olympic sportsmen are ready to give their prizes ($20,000) back in order "to leave Yanukovich alone." Olympic champions are grateful to Yanukovich for his support in preparation to the Olympic Games in Athens.

Tomorrow the meeting of Ukrainian sportsmen is to take place in the State Committee on Sport in order to discuss the current problem.

We remind that the group of Ukrainian Olympic sportsmen distributed the statement which read about the rejection of Athens Olympic Games prizes in protest against Yanukovich’s persecution.

Olympic champions are exasperated by Yanukovich's persecution by new power. The group's aim is to attract the social attention to the facts of political pressure existing in Ukraine.       

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