The morning of 24 February 2022 changed the face of Europe and the world. Russia attacked Ukraine and started a brutal war. On one side an invaded, independent country, on the other a brutal aggressor without any rules. From the first hours, Poland showed great solidarity with its Ukrainian friends. Aid provided to war refugees, political action on the international stage, humanitarian and military support – this is how we have helped, continue to help and will continue to help.
Among those defending the homeland were also Ukrainian athletes. Many of them competed in international events until recently, as did athletes from Poland. At the moment of trial, they rushed to the front or, by competing in sports arenas, show strength of spirit and bear witness that Ukraine shall never surrender.
At the moment of danger, they could count on the help of Polish colleagues, sports associations, clubs and ordinary good people. We offered accommodation and training opportunities, but above all the support of big-hearted people. Pressure from Poland helped to deprive Russia of prestigious sporting events and exclude Russian athletes from many international competitions. Our example was followed by other countries declaring that relations with Russia in the area of sport were not possible. Solidarity has proved to be of great importance.
Today, we strongly oppose the International Olympic Committee's initial proposal to allow Russian athletes to compete in the Olympics under certain conditions. We speak out against the bestiality of the aggressor and recall examples of Polish solidarity towards athletes from Ukraine. We show that their lives were destroyed as a consequence of a brutal, unjustified attack. And at the same time, we talk about the power of fair play and disagreement with breaking the rules.
This is why the ‘Marathon of Solidarity’ project was created. The President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has assumed honorary patronage of the exhibition so entitled. We invite you to become acquainted with a collection of testimonies of Polish-Ukrainian brotherhood. We create this story together.
Kamil Bortniczuk launched a diplomatic offensive, addressing sports ministers from the whole European Union.
Pressure from Poland and the Czech Republic, among others, contributed to FIFA and UEFA's decision to disqualify Russia. Pressure makes sense!
As the Polish Wrestling Association, we acted immediately after the outbreak of war.
We organized, for example: Men's Volleyball World Championship and Women's Épée World Cup.
In Poland, I enrolled in a sports high school and artistic gymnastics classes at the Youth Palace.
During a charity tournament with the participation of outstanding tennis players, approximately PLN 2.5 million was collected.
Clubs in Poland have provided Ukrainian athletes with everything they need.
Dynamo Kyiv defeated Legia Warsaw by 3 goals to 1 at the Łazienkowska Stadium.
For three months, the team lived for free in a sports complex in Kraków.
We do everything to make them feel good, says Korona's sports director, Paweł Golański.
We shall remember this for the rest of our lives,” says Danilo Mocherniuk, a weightlifter.
I feel very grateful to the Polish girls because they helped me with everything and supported me all the way through.
Thanks to the “Volleyball Unites Nations” programme, the team has joined PlusLiga for the 2022/2023 season.
We have received a great deal of help, which is a sign of unprecedented solidarity. We are grateful for this.
The players from Lviv play their matches at the Education and Recreation Centre in Marki.
Sport is an excellent tool to bring nations and generations together. It builds unity.
“We are going to continue to express solidarity and condemn the war,” says Andrzej Kraśnicki, president of the Polish Olympic Committee.
“Russia must stop aggression and terror,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on the internet.
A two-time Olympian from Ukraine was shot. How can you think about competing in such situations?
“You welcomed us with open hearts,” Shakhtar Donetsk players say.
“Without any hesitation, we got on a bus and went to the border to offer help,” says Marcin Kotowoda, secretary of AZS Lublin.
“In the sports venues, they wanted to show that their homeland is fighting and is never going to give up,” says Sławomir Pliszka, president of KS Olimpia Lublin.
“What we observed after 24 February 2022 cannot be called anything other than a great civic effort,” says Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Professor dr Tomasz Bielecki.
“Our support reaches soldiers, hospitals, civilians, children and animals,” says Igor Tracz, a legend of dog sled racing.
“I'm sure the athletes from Ukraine would do the same for us,” says Michalina Diakow, an international football referee.
“Wrocław has a number of facilities that were used in the first crisis weeks,” says Wojciech Koerber of Wrocław Public Relations.
“It was important – in the first days to show support for people who were forced by the war to leave their homeland,” says Jędrzej Rybak of WKS Śląsk Wrocław.
“I didn't know how many of them there would be, where we would accommodate them and how we would organise everything – the only important thing was that these children were fleeing the war, so without hesitation I said I could pick them up from the border,” says Dębica mayor Mariusz Szewczyk, who organised the aid for the Ukrainian swimmers.
“Sport is not only about competing, but also about openness, brotherhood, passion that brings people together,” says Kacper Fara, coach of UKS Feniks Dębica.
“The news about the war shocked everyone and motivated people to help,” says Magdalena Jeziorowska, individual European champion in épée and coach at AZS AWF Katowice.
“As far as possible, we tried to provide the Ukrainian hockey players with a sense of normality,” says Katarzyna Zygmunt, a local government activist from Krynica-Zdrój.
“I feel proud of the community of students at our school, because they welcomed the Ukrainian youth extremely warmly,' says Agnieszka Moneta-Bazelak from Primary School No. 5 in Wyszków.
“Athletes always show solidarity. I think rowers especially, because it is an elitist discipline,” says Stefan Janeczek, president of KW Gopło Kruszwica.
“We tried to constantly meet the needs and act in such a way as to make us feel that we were up to the task,” says Kamil Świrydowicz, press spokesman for Jagiellonia Białystok.
“Willingness to help selflessly, solidarity, open hearts – this is what we showed in the face of the terrorist invasion of Ukraine,” says dr hab. Rafał Tataruch, president of the Polish Speed Skating Association.
“We have had very good contact with Ukrainian athletes and trainers for a long time, and it was one of the coaches from Lviv who asked me for help when Russian troops invaded Ukraine,” says Tadeusz Kaplita, president of the Podkarpackie Regional Sports Acrobatics Association in Rzeszów.
“Physical activity was also a form of therapy for them and a break from what was happening in their homeland, what they left behind on the other side of the border. They could express their emotions through sport,” says Father Marcin Jarzenkowski, parish priest of St Luke the Evangelist and St Florian the Martyr in Łódź, formerly bursar at the Łódź seminary.