More than 400 Ukrainian athletes have died in the war with Russia, officials say. Here are some of their tragic stories.

More than 400 Ukrainian athletes have died in the war with Russia, officials say. Here are some of their tragic stories.



Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


  • More than 400 Ukrainian athletes have been killed in the Russia-Ukraine war, according to Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee.
  • The Sports Committee of Ukraine created a “requiem” for those athletes who have lost their lives.
  • Business Insider is sharing nine of their stories.
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Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost on the battlefield or as a result of the Russian bombing of Ukrainian cities.

Roughly 422 of those killed have been Ukrainian athletes, Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee told Business Insider by email last week.

The Sports Committee of Ukraine, an organization that focuses on developing non-Olympic sports in Ukraine, has since created a “requiem” website called “Sports Angels” for those athletes who have lost their lives in the conflict.

Business Insider has highlighted nine tragic stories shared by the committee.

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Dmytro Sydoruk, archery

Dmytro Sydoruk.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Sydoruk was a junior sergeant in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and a silver medalist in archery at the Invictus Games, a sports event for wounded, injured, and sick service people.

The Sports Angels website says that Sydoruk initially joined the Ukrainian armed forces in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

After being injured while serving his country, it says he began practicing archery, a sport he had done when he was younger.

He made the Ukrainian national team and competed at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

Sydoruk died in battle in the Kherson region while serving with the 24th separate mechanized brigade, per the website.

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Serhii Balanchuk, soccer

Serhii Balanchuk.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


A graduate of the Ukrainian professional soccer team Dynamo Kyiv’s academy, Balanchuk later played for Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Haifa.

After his playing career ended, he studied law and took up a role in the legal field, The New Voice of Ukraine reported.

He was killed by an artillery blast while fighting near the war-torn city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, per the Sports Angels page.

A councilor in Haifa, Israel, said the city would name the street on which the Russian consulate is located after the former soccer player, per The New Voice of Ukraine.

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Daria Kurdel, dance

Daria Kurdel.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Twenty-year-old Ukrainian dance champion Daria Kurdel was a student at the National University of Odesa Law Academy, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The university said in a Facebook post that Kurdel “was a responsible, intelligent and ambitious girl” and that she “took an active part in student life and loved sports.”

She was killed during a Russian missile attack on Kryvyi Rih, per the report.

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Serhii Pronevych, running

Serhii Pronevych.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Pronevych, 30, was a record-breaking marathon runner who reportedly completed a marathon distance in 4 hours 36 minutes in 2019 while dressed in full military gear.

He became active in Ukraine’s territorial defense after Russia’s invasion, possibly serving in a “reconnaissance” unit, his mother said, per the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHRP).

The KHRP said Russian troops likely tortured Pronevych before he died.

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Ihor Boiko, American football

Ihor Boiko.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


A former American footballer, Boiko, died in June after he was wounded during an operation in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, per the Sports Angels page.

Boiko had played in the Ukrainian League of American Football (ULAF), the country’s national league, for the Vinnytsia Wolves and the Kyiv Patriots clubs, the website says.

The ULAF paid tribute to Boiko on its Facebook page: “He defended the freedom of our country and laid down his life for it. May our Hero rest in peace in a better world, and may our enemy know no peace either in this or the next world.”

“Heroes do not die. Neither in our hearts nor in our memory,” it added.

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Victoria Kotlyarova, soccer

Victoria Kotlyarova.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Kotlyarova was a soccer player who played in the Ukrainian Women’s League. She was also a champion futsal player, per the requiem page.

She died on December 29 alongside her mother in a Russian attack on a warehouse in Kyiv that killed 32 people, the Kyiv Post reported, citing Texty.org.

She had married just days before her death, say reports.

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Mykola Poliuliak, snowboarding

Mykola Poliuliak.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Snowboarding instructor Mykola Poliuliak, 38, volunteered to join Ukraine’s armed forces but died in battle while defending Mariupol.

According to the Sports Angels page, following Poliuliak’s death, fellow snowboard coach Vadym Yankovskyi wrote of him: “You were one of those people who got me into the world of winter mountains, my first coach and mentor.”

“Thank you for everything. Rest in peace, Ryder. I hope there will be mountains, snow, and your favorite board,” he added.

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Fedir Yepifanov, fencing

Fedir Yepifanov.

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Yepifanov was a talented champion fencer who had represented Ukraine at international tournaments, according to the The Sports Committee of Ukraine’s requiem page.

Despite being just 18 years old when Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, Yepifanov put his fencing career on hold and joined Ukraine’s war effort.

He was killed while fighting on the front line on December 13, 2023, per the committee.

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Oleksandr Bilokon, powerlifting

Oleksandr Bilokon

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Sports Angels/The Sports Committee of Ukraine


Bilokon was a world and European powerlifting champion, The Sports Committee of Ukraine says on its requiem page.

The weightlifter, who joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces in March 2023, is also Ukraine’s record holder for “truck pulling,” the Kyiv Independent reported.

In a post on Facebook on February 3, Vadym Kisil, who works with Ukraine’s Greco-Roman Wrestling Federation, said the soldier, 32, was killed while fighting Russian forces.

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This post was originally published on Business Insider

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