Whoops: Olympic announcer mistakes Ukrainian artistic swimmers for Russians

Tokyo Olympic organizers apologize for announcing bronze-medal-winning artistic swimmers from Ukraine as from the ROC

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Mistaking Ukrainians for Russians publicly at the Olympics? Eesh.

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As political dynamite goes, it’d have been hard for Tokyo Olympic organizers to have made so big a bang.

In short, to have blundered so badly.

On Wednesday at the Olympic pool, Ukrainian duo Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk took to the podium to be awarded their bronze medals in artistic swimming’s duet free routine event.

All medal winners at Olympic Games are announced in the home country’s language, in English and in French. During this particular medal ceremony, the French announcer poolside mistakenly said Fiedina and Savchuk were from the Russian Olympic Committee, rather than from Ukraine.

Nyet! Nyet! Nyet! (That’s “No! No! No!” in both Russian and Ukrainian, at least according to Google Translate.)

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Those watching around the world who understand French surely winced. Or dropped chin to chest.

The two Eastern European countries in essence have been at war since the middle of last decade. Ukrainian soldiers have fought Russia-backed separatists in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, since Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014.

“It was purely an operational mistake,” Tokyo organizing committee spokesman Masa Tanaka said of the galling gaffe, through an interpreter. “Of course, people noticed that and the person in charge of announcements apologized.”

As in, Cорри! Cорри! Cорри!

Or, in both Ukrainian and Russian: “Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!”

For a movement that tries so hard — well, at least in theory — to be apolitical, the Olympics sure fails with gnawing frequency.

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