Commentary

Victory Is Theirs: Ukraine biathlon

Updated: February 21, 2014, 5:13 PM ET
By Jim Caple | ESPN.com

[+] EnlargeUkraine
AP Photo/Dmitry LovetskyThe Ukraine biathlon team asked for a moment of silence after their victory.

SOCHI, Russia -- There are moments at the Olympics that help put everything into perspective when we're disappointed about our teams' losses while chasing a rubber puck across the ice. One of those moments was in the women's 4x6K biathlon relay Friday.

While back home their country is emerged in a crisis that has left scores of protesters dead, Ukraine's relay team won a surprising gold medal when Olena Pidhrushna collapsed in absolute exhaustion across the finish line. It was Ukraine's first winter gold medal -- and only its second overall -- since 1994 when Oksana Baiul won in figure skating.

The Ukrainian team requested a moment of silence at the post-race news conference to honor the fallen back in Kiev.

"This is a message for a better future,'' Ukraine's Olympic Committee president Sergey Bubka said of the victory. "What can be a better message for the people? We need this moment.''

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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