“You accidentally won the race”- Head of Ukrainian Cycling Federation to Gold Medalist
2 July, 2019

When Anna Solovey, a Ukrainian cyclist reached the finish line at the European Games, she probably never expected that another person, a man, would get the credit for her gold medal. She responded. Then, the president of the Cycling Federation of Ukraine, Oleksandr Bashenko, asserted that she no longer had the right to be on the Ukrainian National team. 

“I am surprised at the incompetence and disregard for the athletes of your own federation,” wrote Solovey after the head of the Kyiv Cycling Federation Serhiy Mukhomor was congratulated for her victory in a Facebook post. 

“This man did not help me in preparing for the competition with absolutely anything,” Solovey wrote in a comment. 

The response that followed from Bashenko shocked many. The president of the Cycling Federation of Ukraine claimed that Solovey's victory at the 2019 European Games, which were held in Minsk, Belarus, was "accidental" and that she should not "stink."

“You will do the work - we will accept you, if you stink- we will send you away and we will not remember your name,” replied the president of the Cycling Federation of Ukraine, Oleksandr Bashenko. 

Bashenko says that Anna had violated the terms of her contract, by, “opening her mouth,” she ceded the right to ride for the Ukrainian National team. 

“You entered a minefield,” Bashenko threatened Solovey in a comment that has still not been deleted.

This is not the first time that Bashenko undermines an athlete. In February, Bashenko humiliated Olga Viyuk, insulting her mental abilities and comparing her with a prostitute. 

The Ukrainian Minister of Youth and Sports Ihor Zhdanov has already reacted to the distressing conversation by saying that the ministry is "on Solovey's side."

"I have just rung the 2019 European cycling games champion Anna Solovey. I congratulated her with the victory and expressed my full support," Zhdanov wrote on Facebook. "I deem unfair, unacceptable and rude the tone in which the head of the federation spoke with our sportsperson."