Dutch skaters dedicate World Cup Final to raise funds for Ukraine
All Dutch skaters participating in the ISU World Cup Final in Heerenveen this weekend are dedicating their race to Ukraine. They'll wear special skating suits - with the Dutch and Ukrainian flags and the text Giro555 - which they'll sign after the race and auction off. The proceeds will go to Giro555, a fundraiser by eleven aid organizations to provide shelter, food, medicine, and other aid to Ukrainians during the Russian invasion.
"We were struck by the images from Ukraine, a war that affects us all," said Herman de Haan, director of Dutch ice skating union KNSB. "It took little effort to get all parties behind this initiative." The idea to auction off the skaters' suits came from Olympic champion Irene Schouten, who already auctioned off a signed suit.
The top teams, their sponsors, the athletes' association, other skating teams and sponsors, and clothing suppliers Sportoconfex and House of Sports all immediately agreed to help. "And that is heartwarming. Let's hope this action moves visitors in Thialf and TV viewers at home to also deposit money on Giro555 if they haven't done so already," De Haan said.
"Although the sport continues as usual, the athletes also think about the war and its victims day in and day out. As skaters, we now focus on this subject to create more help for Ukraine," said Douwe de Vries, chairman of the KNSB Athletes Association.
If you would like to bid on a signed skating suit, you can do so here from Saturday.