Olympian tourists: From Minsk, with love

The Vancouver Sun publishes an interview with four Belarusian fans at the 2010 Olympic Games. It’s a great pleasure to see the guys wearing sweaters with the historical Belarusian coat of arms Pahonia on them.

VANCOUVER — Belarus is a small land-locked country sandwiched between Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The population is only 10 million, and mostly centered around the capital, Minsk.

But what it lacks in size, Belarus makes up for in Olympic spirit.

Thursday, Belarus picked up its first two medals of the 2010 games in the men’s and women’s biathalon. The same day, Ilya Kunitski, Pavel Kazlou, Pavel Surkov and Zmicer Kazak arrived in Vancouver to cheer on their country’s athletes.

They were easy to spot, because they were all sporting scarlet red Belarus hockey jerseys.

“This is my first [Olympics],” said Kunitski, 27, who hails from Minsk but now lives in New York.

“I was dreaming about visiting one, and finally my dream came true. It’s [a great] atmosphere. Just being here without being to any events, it’s worth coming. And Vancouver is a beautiful city. It’s our first day in Vancouver but already I can say it’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen.”

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