Indiana is welcoming Ukrainian athletes displaced by the war in a unique collaboration.
Governor Eric Holcomb announced that the State of Indiana, Indiana Sports Corp, and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority (SSCVA) have joined together to relocate the men’s Ukrainian Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team to Indiana. The Hoosier state will serve as the team’s training location this summer, where there will also be interaction with the local community.
“We are so happy to play our small part in providing these world-class athletes with refuge to continue their training in such a fantastic facility,” Holcomb said. “This confirms what we have known all along — that our strongest state export has, and always will be, our hoosier hospitality.”
The Ukrainian athletes arrived in Hammond, Indiana, on July 7, where they will train at Hammond Central High School until August 3. The wrestlers will use the high school facility which opened in 2021 and includes a weight room, track, football field, gymnasium and pool.
“The city of Hammond is excited to welcome the Ukrainian Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team to train and utilize the state-of-the-art athletic facilities at Hammond Central High School,” said Scott Miller, Hammond Schools superintendent. “The opportunity to host world-class athletes and have them work alongside our student athletes is incredible and we look forward to their arrival.”
This partnership follows the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation welcoming 50 displaced Ukrainian athletes, coaches and family members in May. The Ukrainian wrestlers’ arrival was something that had been in the works since Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers met with the Ambassador of Ukraine at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington in March, two weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
“Indiana Sports Corp is proud to partner with the State of Indiana and the SSCVA to provide a training location for the Ukrainian Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling Team,” said Ryan Vaughn, Indiana Sports Corp president. “Indiana offers premier sports facilities across the state and we are grateful our Team Indiana partner SSCVA raised their hand to take on this opportunity.”
As part of their three-week stay, the Ukrainian wrestlers will have joint training sessions and meetings with local wrestlers. These gatherings will allow local wrestlers to learn from the Ukrainian team and allow both parties to share experiences on and off the mat.
The Ukrainian Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling team has a history of success at the Olympic Summer Games. At Tokyo 2020, the Ukrainian team ranked third, including a gold medal in the 87 kg weight category.