Italy helps Ukrainian synchronized swim team reach Rome

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. flee / fli / (v.) – to escape from a place because of danger

    The people were forced to flee the country because of the war.

  2. federation / ˌfɛd əˈreɪ ʃən / (n.) – a larger organization formed by joining smaller organizations together

    The business federation aims to empower local businesses to create more jobs for the people.

  3. official / əˈfɪʃ əl / (n.) – a person in authority in a company or an organization

    I interviewed a government official about the city’s preparation for the upcoming festival.

  4. civilian / sɪˈvɪl yən / (n.) – a person who’s not part of the military or police forces

    The military helped several civilians get out of the danger zone.

  5. escort / ɪˈskɔrt / (v.) – to protect a person or a group of people by going with them to ensure their safety

    The witnesses were escorted by the police to the court.


Read the text below.

Most members of the Ukrainian women’s synchronized swim team arrived in Rome on Tuesday after fleeing the war in their homeland with Italian help.

Ten athletes and two coaches traveled in a bus provided by the Italian swimming federation from the Ukraine-Hungarian border to Rome.

Italian swimming officials greeted the athletes, who will continue their training at Italian Olympic facilities in Ostia, a seaside suburb of the Italian capital, as they prepare for the European Aquatics Championships to be held in Rome in August.

The U.N. says the number of people who have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion has reached 2 million, and many more are still trying to get out.While grateful, the athletes are worried about loved ones left behind in Ukraine.

Maryna Aleksiiva, who arrived with her twin sister Vladyslava, both Olympic bronze medalists, described the athletes as being “terrified about our relatives, our friends who are still in Ukraine, because it is too dangerous, because every day (children and other civilians) die.”

She added: “We know that in Ukraine those who protect us are dying, but we had to go away and leave our city. This was very hard.”

The team members, whose ages range from 14 to 20, set out last weekend, departing from their base in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which has been heavily attacked. They headed to Lviv, a Ukrainian city near the border with Poland, then ultimately made their way to Hungary, where Italian athletic officials met them and escorted them to Rome.

Four teammates and three coaches are still in Ukraine, including Olympic bronze medalist Marta Fiedina. The Italian swimming federation is arranging to have them arrive in Italy in the next few days.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to the U.N., the number of people who fled Ukraine has reached 2 million and many more people are trying to leave the country. Should countries near Ukraine open their borders to refugees? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • According to Aleksiiva, it was very hard for their team to leave the country while many people are dying in the war. Do you agree with their decision to leave their country? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think about the Italian swimming officials’ support to the Ukrainians (ex. admirable, inspiring)? What do you think motivated them to support the Ukrainian team? Discuss.
  • What other kind of support from sports organizers do you think should be extended to the Ukrainian athletes (ex. health and medical support)? Discuss.