He has been to Ukraine seven times
Ski Olympian plans next crazy relief effort
The war in Ukraine has long since become a sad part of everyday life. But not for former top athlete Andreas Isoz. The Zurich native now even wants to help on site near the front. For an emotional reason.
Published: 01/26/2023 at 3:35 p.m
Help in the harsh Ukrainian winter: Andreas Isoz and comrade-in-arms Jonas Roth (picture) distribute thermal underwear on one of their aid trips.
Matthew Dubachreporter sports
It is the story of a relief effort for Ukraine that was intended as a one-off last March, but just keeps going to this day. And it is also the story of an incredibly large solidarity within a small ski sport.
Andreas Isoz (38) from Zurich, Olympic athlete in Vancouver in 2010, now managing director of a restaurant and the freestyle summer hill “Jumpin” in Mettmenstetten ZH, wanted to help his Ukrainian friends from the aerials scene who had gotten into trouble after the war began.
But with the Ukrainian national coach Enver Ablaev as a contact in the war country, the cause of Isoz and his team grew bigger and bigger. The original 10,000-franc fundraiser has become a permanent aid project.
“We can make a difference locally”
“Now we’ve been to Ukraine seven times and delivered relief supplies right there,” says Isoz. “We couldn’t stop because we saw with every delivery that we could really make a difference.”
His principle: With the donations, material such as warm clothing, generators, medicines, hospital supplies, etc. are bought and delivered. “This is how we ensure that it gets to where it is really needed.”
Now the ex-Olympian is already planning the next relief effort. The craziest yet. So far, Isoz and Co. have mainly worked in Bucha and Kyiv. Now they want to help directly in the frontline area in the city of Mykolaiv near Cherson.
The Olympic champion’s parents live in the liberated city
For an emotional reason. Aerials Olympic champion Oleksandr Abramenko (34) and former world-class jumper Olga Volkova (36) come from the city in the south, which was only liberated a few weeks ago. Abramenko is currently competing in the World Cup, but was also involved in the Aerials relief efforts prior to the season. Volkova fled to Switzerland.
«The parents of the two live in Mykolayiv. The situation on the ground is massively worse than in Kyiv,” says Isoz, who this time is planning to return by train from the 2,300 km trip to the Black Sea. On the way there, he sits in a used ambulance that he wants to hand over to the authorities for on-site operations.
Isoz can continue to obtain other aid supplies such as insulin, thermal clothing or hospital supplies from partner companies at a preferential price. The planned eighth delivery with a market value of CHF 220,000 “only” costs around CHF 80,000. Around 45,000 francs are still missing from the fundraiser on the “There for you” platform. But Isoz believes in his next project: “As a former top athlete in a fringe sport, I have learned to fight for my concerns!”
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