The Power of Sports Witnessed in Support of Ukraine



On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. According to BBC News, Vladimir Putin said that the purpose of the invasion is to “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.” With the invasion underway, the world remains very much in shock and fearful of the escalation.

In response, communities provided medical supplies for fleeing citizens, countries cut ties with Russia in an attempt to slow its economy, and many stopped investing and supporting Russian companies. These measures are undoubtedly great and should prove effective, but so, too, is demonstrating unity of mission and support. In a very real way, sports as one large collective has a way of bringing people together. Some think that sports are just games to be played with a winner and a loser when in fact these contests can be offer so much more.

In 2001, New York City was devastated by the World Trade Center attack; almost 3,000 people were killed in its immediate aftermath. Ten days after that tragic day, Mike Piazza of the New York Mets hit a home run that would end up being the winning run against the Yankees in an emotionally charged subway series. In the years since, many have spoken about this singular moment as one that served to unite rather than divide, to inspire rather than to dismiss. The citizens of New York, and those throughout the country, had been wholly changed by the disaster, yet in this moment found some type of needed catharsis and hope.

Athletes and sport teams have shown overwhelming support for Ukraine and its citizens in a number of ways. On the first weekend after the invasion, the English Premier League paused at the beginning of matches to show collective support from the players that this invasion is wrong. Many players took to social media to show personal support off the field. This is the beauty of sports: people coming together united in support for those suffering.