May 22 - Ukraine's most iconic sportsman, Sergey Bubka, says talk of a boycott of the 2012 UEFA European Championship by European Governments is "senseless" and will serve no purpose.
Many countries are reported to be considering snubbing the tournament in support of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (pictured top, in backdrop behind daughter Yevgenia).
But multiple world champion Bubka (pictured below), a Euro 2012 ambassador, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and President of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee, says this would benefit no one.
"Any boycott of a sports event is senseless," said the 48-year-old, the world's most revered pole vaulter who won gold at Seoul 1988.
"I was personally a victim of the 1984 Olympics which were boycotted by the USSR team.
"What have we gained from it?
"Who benefited from the Western boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics?
"Let us remember the lessons history gives us.
"Whatever happens we should never associate sport with politics."
"The legacy of Euro 2012 will help us," continued Bubka, the six-times world champion who won his titles while representing the Soviet Union and Ukraine.
"When the reconstruction of the Olimpiyskiy National Stadium in Kiev (pictured below) took place, I did my best to save the athletics track.
"With the reconstruction funded from national budgets, it was decided that the arena should serve not only football but other sports, namely athletics."
Bubka revealed that Ukraine would not be stopping only at the Euros and that other major events were also being planned.
"I can now confirm our plans to host IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and EAA (European Athletic Association) events in Kiev," he said.
"We can't follow Russia's path of bidding for so many major championships as we do not have the resources, but we still plan to bid to host the Winter Olympics in Lviv and the Carpathian Mountains.
"Hosting sport events unites the nation and helps promote sport to young people."
Bubka said he felt "computer games and television are too prevalent among young people and this lack of activity is a global problem which contributes to obesity and physical development disorders among children.
"The main task of the Olympic Movement and sport in general is to attract more youngsters to live an active and sporting way of life."
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