Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympics 2012: Ukraine Country Profile

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine made its Olympic debut in the Winter Games of 1994, just two years after becoming an independent country after the Soviet Union dissolved. The first Summer Games appearance came at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Ukraine won seven gold, five silver, and 15 bronze medals at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, placing it at No. 11 on the list. In London, Ukraine should make the top 10. Of the total in China, five were in wrestling, five in athletics, and three in shooting. Geography, land mass: Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe, and is roughly the same size as Texas. The west is more mountainous, while the south is semi arid and borders the Black Sea. Population, capital city: Almost 48 million people live in Ukraine. The capital city is Kyiv, with an alternate spelling of Kiev. Best Olympic apparel: The Olympic kit unveiled for Ukraine has a nice throwback look that should make the team one of the most fashionable in the Opening Ceremony. Prediction from Goldman Sachs: The banking giant completed a study forecasting the medal count for the 2012 Games. That's banker's talk saying they are trying to gauge the odds. They predict Ukraine will be the only emerging market country to finish in the top 10. Athletes to watch in London: Olga Kharlan, successfully defended her European fencing title in June and will be looking to on the Olympic podium again. Nataliya Dobrynska will be defending her medal from Beijing in the heptathlon. Kateryna Bondarenko will be playing in the tennis tournament and could surprise a higher ranked player or two. Victor Ruban will be looking to repeat his gold-medal Beijing performance in archery. Roman Gontyuk has a silver from Athens and a bronze from Beijing, and is looking for a gold in his sport of judo to round out his collection. He we also be the flag bearer for Ukraine at the Opening Ceremony. Sport history made: Ukraine co-hosted the Euro 2012 tournament along with Poland. Spain repeated as champion in the final played in Kyiv against Italy on July 1. Future Olympic hosts? Ukraine has indicated the country may bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Carpathian Mountains out of the city of Lviv would be the locale. The competition for host cities is always fierce, but the success of the Euro 2012 tournament should boost Ukraine's chances.

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