LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Oksana Baiul-Farina sat down to speak to 8 News Now’s Sasha Loftis about the overseas unrest in her native Ukraine.
Baiul-Farina described what it was like growing up in Ukraine at a time when her country was still part of the Soviet Union.
In 1994, at the age of 16, she participated in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, representing Ukraine in women’s figure skating.
Ultimately, she would go on to face Team USA favorites Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, but would ultimately win Olympic gold.
Baiul-Farina said she started skating when she was three years old and by the age of seven she knew she wanted to skate professionally.
Along the way, she described the obstacles she faced, including one of the most difficult times in her life when her mother died, Baiul-Farina was only 13 at the time.
“I was alone, but I held my skates and they took me to the top,” she recalls.
Baiul-Farina goes on to talk about concerns abroad as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to build.
“What is happening right now, everyone supports what is happening in my country, the whole world is behind Ukrainians who are dying for no reason,” she added.
She says she has received words of support from former competitors, including Team USA Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.
“(She) came out publicly and said, ‘Girl, I’m thinking of you and all the prayers to the people of your country,'” Baiul-Farina said.
Baiul-Farina is organizing a peaceful rally for Ukraine on Saturday March 5 at 3 p.m.
The event will take place at the Las Vegas City Hall, 495 S. Main Street.
Baiul encourages all of Las Vegas to join her and show her support.
For a preview of the full interview with Olympian Oksana Baiul-Farina, a video link has been provided above.