Ukrainian Wrestler Overcomes War Hardships to Train for Paris Olympics



In a recent report, Ukrainian freestyle wrestler Olena Kozlova faces the immense challenge of preparing for the Paris Summer Olympics while coping with the ongoing war in Ukraine. Despite the toll the conflict has taken, including over 400 athletes killed and more than 500 sports facilities damaged, Kozlova perseveres in her training, with the support of her family and coach. Beyond the physical and mental adversities, there’s also the fear of air raids and missile attacks that could further disrupt her preparation, as she strives to maintain focus on her sport amid the turmoil.

  • Ukrainian athletes are training under challenging conditions due to the war, with more than 400 athletes killed and over 500 sports facilities damaged.
  • Olena Kozlova, a top freestyle wrestler, continues her training in Irpin, near Kyiv, alongside her sister Vira, despite the ongoing conflict.
  • Irpin, where Kozlova’s regular gym is located, was partially occupied by Russian forces and has experienced significant damage.
  • Kozlova and her family were forced to hide in a basement for more than 10 days without heating or water during the Russian invasion.
  • After experiencing a psychological breakdown, Kozlova returned to wrestling with the encouragement of her coach and medical support.
  • Ukraine’s Sports Minister, Mat Bidni, himself a former wrestler, has stated his opposition to Russian athletes competing at the Paris Olympics, even under a neutral flag.
  • Kozlova is aware she may face Russian competitors in Paris, adding to her concern for her family’s safety back in Ukraine.
  • The constant threat of air raids and missile attacks adds to the difficulty of maintaining a regular training regimen, which is crucial for athletic success.
  • Kozlova’s struggle extends beyond the wrestling mat, as she fights to stay focused on her sport amidst the backdrop of war.

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