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Inna Osypenko-Radomska, rowing and canoeing
Inna Osypenko Radomska is one of the most titled Ukrainian athletes. Competing in four Summer Olympics, she won four medals with a gold in the K-1 500 m in 2008, two silvers in the K-1 500 m and K-1 200 m in 2012 and a bronze in the K-4 500 m in 2004. She also won six medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with a gold (K-1 500 m: 2010, two silvers (K-1 200 m: 2010, K-4 1000 m: 2003), and three bronze (K-4 1000 m: 2001, K-1 200 m 2011, K-1 500 m 2011).
In 2014, Osypenko-Radomska announced that she intends either to change citizenship, or to finish her career because Ukraine cannot create the proper conditions for training. As a result, 33year-old athlete has obtained the Azerbaijani citizenship.
"Despite the patriotism to my country, I decided to play for the national team of Azerbaijan. There were some circumstances that made my patriotism step aside. I had to think about my future and the future of my family. I like Ukraine, but the current situation has forced me to change something in my life. I really want to compete for a medal in Rio de Janeiro," explained Osypenko-Radomska.
Mykola Kuksenkov, gymnastics
Mykola Kuksenkov competed for Ukraine's national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Men's artistic team all-around and the Men's artistic individual all-around. The Ukrainian team, consisting of Kuksenkov, Igor Radivilov, Vitalii Nakonechnyi, Oleg Stepko and Oleg Verniaiev finished in 4th place in the team final. They were initially awarded 3rd position although a successful appeal from the Japanese team over one of their athletes scores resulted in Japan being promoted from 4th to 2nd place, displacing Ukraine from the medals. In the individual final Kuksenkov also finished in 4th position, again just missing out on a medal. Kuksenkov stated that he intends to play for Russia due to poor funding gymnastics in Ukraine. In 2013, he received Russian citizenship.
His participation in 2016 Summer Olympic Games was questionable because his doping test gave a positive result. However, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency justified the gymnast, and he was elected captain of the Russian national team.
And in the fall 2012 European Championships bronze medalist in the 2011 all-around announced that. Later Kuksenkov said he does not consider himself a traitor.
Oleg Stepko, gymnastics
After Kuksenkov moved to Russia, Oleg Stepko was expected to become a leader of Ukraine’s team. Stepko competed for the national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Men's artistic team all-around. His teammates for the event were Mykola Kuksenkov, Igor Radivilov, Vitalii Nakonechnyi and Oleg Verniaiev. Stepko also participated in floor exercises, horizontal bar, rings. He won gold in Parallel Bars at the 2013 European Championships. At the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Stepko along with the Ukrainian team led to a second-place finish in the team final. He won the bronze medal in Pommel horse final.
In 2014, Stepko decided to accept Azerbaijani citizenship. According gymnast, the reason for this step was poor funding.
"I think, everyone understands that the situation with funding the sport in our country. Baku likes our athletes, it has all the facilities necessary to develop our sport conditions. Why should I lose my talent in Ukrainian old gyms," he claimed.
Mariya Stadnik, wrestler
Mariya Stadnik has became Azerbaijani wrestler in 2007. There was no place for her in the Ukrainian team, as Iryna Merleni became the number one gold medalist in 2004.
"There were some circumstances that just did not let me join the Ukrainian team. Sports career is very short, so I had to make a choice. I could take a chance when I was young and full of strength. Or I could just bury my talent. So I chose Azerbaijan," recalls Stadnik.
As a result, Stadnik went to the 2008 Olympics as an Azerbaijan representative and was on the third step of podium with Merleni. In the same event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, she won a bronze medal. She is a three-time world champion, and won the European championship once.
Valentin Demyanenko, canoe sprint
Canoeist Valentin Demyanenko has been playing for Azerbaijan since 2007. Demyanenko came to prominence in 2004 with a shock victory in the C-1 500m final at the European under-23 championships in Poland. In his first international appearance as a senior he won a silver medal at the 2005 European championships in the C-1 200m sprint, just one tenth of a second behind the three-times champion Maxim Opalev of Russia. The following month, at the 2005 Flatwater Racing World Championships at Zagreb, Croatia, he was entered in two events. In the C-1 500m he came fourth. Then in the C-1 200m final he turned the tables on Opalev, winning the final in a time of 39.264 seconds. After these successes Demyanenko began to concentrate on the C1 500m in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, where there would be no 200m races.
Demyanenko is not the only Ukrainian, who plays for Azerbaijan in canoeing. Sergey Bezugly and Maxim Prokopenko also represent this country. Together with Demyanenko, they won silver at the World Cup in 2011. Demyanenko admitted that he is going to Rio to win the golden medal.
Maksym Oberemko, sailing
Maksym Oberemko has competed for Ukraine at the Olympics since 1996, firstly in the Mistral One Design Class, and later in the RS:X. He was the only athlete who played for Ukraine at all Olympics since Atlanta 1996 and ending with London 2012. He won the bronze medal at the European Championship in 2004, and in 2006, he became the world champion.
After Russian annexation of Crimea, Oberemko who lives in Yevpatoria (Crimea), decided to stay on the peninsula and take Russian citizenship.
Rostyslav Pevtsov, triathlon
Triathlete Rostyslav Pevtsov to go the 2016 Olympics under the flag of Azerbaijan. He changed his nationality in 2013. The triathlete noted that if there were no such an offer from the Azerbaijani side, he would just end his career in 2013.
"I was fed up with begging for money in order to participate in the competitions. Frankly, I did not see my chances in triathlon," Pevtsov noted.
The Azerbaijani put in one of the quickest runs of the event to clinch third place in on the final lap of the race, which was won by Team GB's Gordon Benson. Pevtsov is the eighth athlete to win a medal for the host nation.