Russia’s New Hero Is A Banned Belarussian Sports Official

A protest of Russia's banning from the Paralympic games has made a Belarussian athlete into a national hero

Sep 08, 2016 at 3:11 PM ET

Upon carrying the Russian flag into the Maracanã stadium during the opening ceremony of the Paralympics, the Belarusian delegation and Andrey Fomochkin, the member carrying the flag, became heroes on Russian social media.

Tens of thousands of Russians went online to thank Fomochkin and the delegation for carrying the flag of Russia—the Russian delegation was banned from participating in the Paralympics due to the state-sponsored doping system uncovered by the McLaren report. Many called the person carrying the flag, Andrey Fomochkin, a hero on Facebook, Twitter, and Vkontakte, Russia’s largest social network. Many shared memes celebrating Fomochkin’s gesture.

Fomochkin, a former USSR winter triathlon champion who served as the Deputy Sport and Tourism Minister of Belarus, was later banned from the Paralympics by the International Paralympic Committee for carrying the flag.

Russia’s Paralympic Committee head, Vladimir Lukin, responded to Fomochkin’s gesture saying, “During this difficult period, he remembered us…  We won’t forget this”.

Translation: “Belarus is with us. Andrey Fomochkin carried the flag”

Translation: “the name of the hero – Andrey Fomochkin”.

Translation: “Andrey Fomochkin, medalist and record breaker of the USSR in 1986  #retweet this hero”.

Translation: “Andrey Fomochkin is the hero of the Paralympics”.