Hero with a goal – NRK Sport – Sports news, results and broadcast schedule

Sport will never matter in war. Need. But even for people at war, sport can serve as a clear unifying function.

For never has a country’s sports hero had a clearer place and voice in war than the Ukrainian star has in the last six months.

And their symbolic value becomes even clearer when the country’s biggest stars are boxers and have shown their dedication to the Ukrainian cause by contributing as soldiers.

Usyx big win

Last weekend, Ukrainian heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk defended his three world belts after winning a great fight against Britain’s Anthony Joshua.

The match ended with the so-called separate decision backing Usyk, before the loser Joshua caught the world champion’s attention with a truly bizarre acceptance speech from behind the ring.

But neither that nor the fact that the match, which was originally planned in Kyiv, was instead taking place in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah is the point here.

What matters is what Ukrainian sports stars manage to do in a situation where their homeland is at war with neighboring Russia.

“It was an important and necessary victory,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskyj touched right after the match, which he later called “a symbol of the fact that no Cossacks will give up what is theirs, will fight and actually win.”

SYMBOLS: Volodymyr Zelenskyj himself has become a symbol of Ukraine’s struggle for independence.


Sport has once again become an arena for Ukraine’s struggle for freedom – and, in addition, an arena that all Ukrainians can participate in.

Because this match is very important before the national day, Usyk himself plans to buy the rights to broadcast the match. In the end, he didn’t need it. Saudi Arabia’s organizers gave permission to all of unoccupied Ukraine to watch their 35-year-old boxing hero on open channels.

Usyk has been training in Dubai after being given permission to leave the country and fight Russia to defend his title. Usyk initially said no, but told CNN he changed his mind after visiting a hospital where wounded Ukrainian soldiers were lying, which urged him to go and fight for his country.

Saudi Arabia Joshua Usyk Boxing

CLOSED DUEL: It was a great fight between Joshua and Usyk, but in the end the Ukrainian ended up with the world belt.

Photo: Hassan Ammar / AP

Olympic Peace – while it lasts

Maybe that’s why sport contributed to the war in Ukraine that started on the day it happened. The New York Times reported in early March that intelligence reports indicated that a month earlier China had asked Russia to wait to attack Ukraine until after the Beijing Olympics.

The Chinese want the world’s full attention on their prestigious events.

The information has certainly never been officially confirmed, but on February 4, President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met in connection with the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

On February 20th, the Match has ended.

Four days later the Russian attack took place.

From boxing star to mayor

Before long, there were two figures who, apart from President Zelensky, were very conspicuous, as well as physically.

Brothers Vladimir and Vitaly Klitschko were central figures on the Ukrainian side of the war from the very beginning. The brothers are legends in the sport of boxing, both of whom have been world champions several times. Now they have brought their status into politics – and with it the defense of the country against the Russian invasion.

Ironically, the brothers are what we call real children of the Soviet Union, with a father who was in the military and stationed in several places in the former great power many Putin supporters dream of this war being a part of reinventing.

That is why they have also become big heroes in Russia, and ironically Vitalij held his farewell match at the Olympic Hall in Moscow in 2012, to the delight of Vladimir Putin, who is passionate about martial arts.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko (tv) and his brother Wladimir Klitschko stand near a destroyed apartment building in Kyiv on Monday.

BROTHERS AND HEROES: Boxing brothers Vladimir and Vitalij Klitschko in Kyiv after the attack in March.


Two years later, retired world champion Vitalij Klitschko became mayor of Kyiv. So it was with him on February 24, 2022. And now the excitement from Putin is over.

Together with his brother Vladimir, he early became a powerful symbol of resistance through social media.

Shortly thereafter, two other heroes of the country, Oleksandr Usyk and another current world champion, Vasyl Lomatchenko, also returned to their homeland and were ready to fight for their country.

Photos of Usyk and Lomatchenko in uniform and with machine guns on Instagram spread all over the world.

Nakatani Lomachenko's Boxing

WORLD CHAMPION 2: Vasyl Lomachenko after he defeated Masayoshi Nakatani in a fight last June.

Photo: John Locher/AP

Dream of an exploding toilet

Something close to the rest of the world is also cheering on the Ukraine national football team as they play their crucial qualifying match for a place at the World Cup in football later this year. But they lost an emotional match against Wales.

Nevertheless, Ukrainian players in the premier league have used football as an arena to express their unity and fight the Russian invaders.

Ukraine’s most famous player in recent times, Andriy Shevchenko, has continued the struggle, including by working for the organization UNITED24, started by President Zelensky, which raises money for the defense of Ukraine. So far, they have raised over NOK 1.5 billion.

Andriy Shevchenko

SUPERSTAR: Andriy Shevchenko became a big profile for AC Milan in the 2000s


Next cat life

“I won this victory for my country, my people, for all the people and the military who defended the country. Many, many thanks” were the words Oleksandr Usyk used after the match in Jeddah last weekend.

And knows that his message reaches the homes of millions of men and women of his country.

Usyk, nicknamed “Cat”, exudes a rare masculine power and is the kind of hero image that Vladimir Putin previously favored. It is now only hoped that irritation over the symbolic power these Ukrainian athletes possess will boomerang even more strongly on the Russian president.

It is appropriate to recall Putin’s own words from 2000:

“Victory in sport unites a nation more than 100 political slogans.”


SPORTS: Vladimir Putin has long been concerned about Russia’s sporting achievements. In 2004, he visited the national boxing team.


When Usyk won against British Joshua in Jeddah, the aforementioned Lomachenko was sitting at the edge of the ring. Both have been urged by President Zelenskyy to lay down their arms to go out and symbolize Ukrainian independence to the rest of the world.

Lomatchenko is now in the United States, where he is expected to box again in October.
Usyk’s next fight is expected in December against Britain’s new fighter, Tyson Fury, for all four heavyweight world championship belts.

Unfortunately, this can also quickly become an opportunity to represent and inspire a country at war.

A country that has lost more than 50 of its best athletes since the start of the war.

Boxing is called the “noble martial art”.

For Ukrainian sports stars, unfortunately, in the last six months, art has turned into a too serious reality.

Britney Kirk

"Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student."

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