Yuriy Cheban, Ukrainian canoeist and the Olympic champion of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, told the press that he could have brought the canoe with quite provocative pictures on it. The boat he actually used during the event featured images of Cossacks, but initially, the idea was quite different.
‘Since the moment our country faced that tough test (the annexation of Crimea and war in Donbas, - 112 International), I decided to start making thematic images with a certain point. In 2014, I ordered a boat with an image of a missile blowing up in Moscow. In Rio, I wanted to add more fragments to this image, but that idea failed. Instead, I successfully finished the race on my boat with the image of Cossacks riding their horses. The image also included sabre and club. These pictures are supposed to show that we are a free, unbroken nation, which firmly makes its own point and is capable of repelling an attack of any enemy’, Cheban told Radio Liberty.
The Olympic champion gave the credit for the canoe’s design to his girlfriend Kateryna.
On August 18, Cheban won the final race in 200 m individual event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Thus, he took gold and repeated his own success in London 2012.