Ukrainian curling team finds shelter and training facilities in Utah


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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation has adopted the Ukrainian National Curling Team so they can live and train here while the war in Ukraine rages on.

The team has been training at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns for about a week and on the way, they learned how Utah loves Olympic sports.

They shared breakfast at the University of Utah Thursday and then checked out the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza outside of Rice-Eccles stadium.

Yaroslav Shchur is a curler for the Ukraine team. He said Utah has been so kind and he appreciated the support.

Collin Hilton from the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation said, "This transcends sports. This is the right thing to do. It showcases what Utah is all about, about being welcoming and hospitable to folks in need and I'm just thrilled we're being able to help."

Even though they have a safe place to live and train, these athletes have worried every day about their families back in Ukraine.

Curler Polina Putintseva said she is always thinking about her family but is thankful to train and focus on something else for a little bit.

Special guest Oksana Masters spoke to the Ukrainian team during Thursday's breakfast. She has won almost 20 medals in several Paralympics.

Masters competes for the U.S., but she is originally from Ukraine and traveled from her home in Illinois just to meet with the team.

After breakfast at the University of Utah, the Ukrainian curling team checked out the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza outside of Rice-Eccles Stadium Thursday in Salt Lake City.
After breakfast at the University of Utah, the Ukrainian curling team checked out the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza outside of Rice-Eccles Stadium Thursday in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Alex Cabrero, KSL-TV)

"What the community of Utah has provided is incredible," she said. "But I also have to think that's a little bittersweet because they're here in training. At the same time, at night, it doesn't take away the fact of what is still happening in Ukraine.

Another 40 members from the Ukrainian freestyle and slopestyle ski teams will arrive in Utah for training and shelter soon.

They are told they can stay as long as they need to until they're able to return home.

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Alex Cabrero
Alex Cabrero has been reporting for KSL-TV for nearly two decades. He has covered a variety of stories over the years from a variety of places, but he particularly enjoys sharing stories that show what's good in the world.

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