Posted on: March 7, 2022, 11:00h.
Last updated on: March 7, 2022, 12:05h.
Internationally acclaimed Olympian ice skater Oksana Baiul fought back tears as she addressed a couple hundred people gathered in front of Las Vegas City Hall. The weekend downtown gathering was organized to show support for the people of Ukraine as the nation continues to be attacked by Russian troops.
Now married and using the name of Oksana Baiul-Farina, she resides in Nevada. In 1994, she won a gold medal at the Olympics representing the then-newly independent nation of Ukraine. She has stayed in touch with loved ones in Ukraine.
When I am speaking to my Ukrainian skating friends, who are sitting in the bomb shelters, without food. They need a lot of food, water, medicine. They are in need of help,” Baiul-Farina told those gathered at city hall on Saturday.
She also told the crowd she is “so privileged” to live in the US. “But you have to all understand — Ukraine is my land. It’s where I come from. It’s what I will always be, and I can’t forget that,” Baiul-Farina said.
“My heart is broken,” Baiul-Farina further told the crowd. “And it’s with the people of Ukraine.”
Daughter Joins in Shouting for Ukraine
At one point, she introduced her young daughter, Sophia. The girl waved to the crowd. Later, she joined in the call, “United we stand.”
Upon hearing her daughter repeating the rallying cry, Baiul-Farina picked up the girl. She held her in her arms. At her mother’s request, Sophia at a microphone once again repeated, “United we stand.”
The crowd cheered. Then, Sophia led the crowd again in a cheer of “United we stand.”
The crowd yelled it out again.
Message to Ukrainian Troops
At the close of her remarks, Baiul-Farina offered a message to the Ukrainian soldiers:
“We are here with you. We’re fighting for you. Please stay strong.”
The rally kicked off with the US and Ukrainian national anthems. There were many Ukrainian flags waving, and many of those attending were dressed in blue and yellow. These are the colors found on the Ukrainian flag.
Many attendees carried signs supportive of Ukraine or opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Among the other speakers was actor and Vegas Golden Knights announcer Mark Shunock. Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony, a former captain with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, also spoke.