Towering over his fellow protest leaders, Vitali Klitschko, the reigning world heavyweight boxing champion, has emerged as Ukraine’s most popular opposition figure and has ambitions to become its next president.
Thanks to his sports-hero status and reputation as a pro-Western politician untainted by Ukraine’s frequent corruption scandals, the 6-foot 7-inch Klitschko has surpassed jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in opinion polls.
As massive anti-government protests continue to grip Ukraine, the 42-year-old boxer-turned-politician is urging his countrymen to continue their fight to turn this ex-Soviet republic into a genuine Western democracy.
“This is not a revolution. It is a peaceful protest that demands justice,” Klitschko told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. “The people are not defending political interests. They are defending the idea of living in a civilized country.” (Photos: Sergei Chuzavkov/The Associated Press, Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Amid the jerseys and baseball bats held in a secure room at SCP Auctions, there’s a piece of sports memorabilia that speaks to much more than athletic prowess: an Olympic medal won by track star Jesse Owens at the 1936 Games in Berlin.
The medal — being auctioned online — recalls both the Nazi propaganda myths that Owens busted with his world record-setting 100-yard dash, and the American segregation that he came home to when he returned to the U.S. after the Games, which Adolf Hitler orchestrated to showcase his ideas of Aryan supremacism.
“Almost singlehandedly, Owens obliterated Hitler’s plans,” SCP Auctions partner Dan Imler said. “You’ve got an African American, son of a sharecropper, grandson of slaves who overcame these incredible circumstances and delivered a performance for the ages.” (Photos: The Associated Press)