A Ukrainian athlete displayed a “no war in Ukraine” sign after finishing a run in the men’s skeleton competition on Friday.
Vladyslav Heraskevych, 23, who was among 25 sliders in the event, held up a piece of paper with the message written in capital letters over the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag.
“It’s my position,” Heraskevych told The Associated Press after his competition. “Like any normal people, I don’t want war.”
He added: “I want peace in my country, and I want peace in the world. It’s my position, so I fight for that. I fight for peace.”
Heraskevych’s statement comes as tensions mount between Russia and Ukraine. For weeks, more than 100,000 Russian troops and a steady stream of vehicles and equipment have been stationed near the border with Ukraine. U.S. and NATO officials have said that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia appears to be preparing for a large-scale invasion, which could result in catastrophic human costs. Russia continues to insist that all troop and equipment movements are for ordinary exercises.
“In Ukraine, it’s really nervous now,” Heraskevych told the A.P. “A lot of news about guns, about weapons, what’s to come in Ukraine, about some armies around Ukraine. It’s not OK, not in the 21st century. So I decided, before the Olympics, that I would show my position to the world.”
Protests at the Olympics are a thorny issue. Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter prohibits athletes or other participants from demonstrating or displaying “political, religious or racial propaganda” at events. But that rule was recently relaxed to allow athletes to express their views in Olympic villages and surroundings and on social media sites — but not during competitions or medal ceremonies.
It is unclear whether the I.O.C. will penalize Heraskevych, who placed 18th in the finals. He said he hoped Olympic officials would support him.
“Nobody wants war,” Heraskevych said.