A future Division I swimmer spent 24 hours on the stair climber machine at her local gym to advocate for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Her controversial act drew questions and admirers alike on TikTok, where the video has reached over 700,000 views.
Olena Sadovska, who recently signed on to swim at Ohio State next fall, took over a stair climber machine at her 24-hour gym and put up a sign, noting what she was doing. She announced she would be on the machine from 6 am on March 26 through 6 am March 27. She livestreamed the act on TikTok.
“I am advocating for US and NATO military intervention to stop Russia quicker and to prevent needless deaths of Ukrainian civilians,” she wrote. Her sign included a QR code for passersby to sign a petition.
Dressed in the Ukrainian national colors of blue and gold, she identifies herself as from Lviv, a city near the Polish border which has recently come under increased rocket attacks.
Sadovska’s stair climbing protest touches on one of the most controversial foreign policy question of the moment. A no-fly zone would hypothetically force the U.S. and NATO to shoot down any Russian aircraft violating the ordinance, according to the Guardian.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has begged Western allies to implement a no-fly zone. The Biden Administration has repeatedly denied the action over fears it would draw the U.S. into war.
“That is definitely escalatory, that would potentially put us in a place where we are in a military conflict with Russia,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told MSNBC.
Many TikTok commenters were incredulous at the stair climber demonstration.
“How is this gonna help Ukraine?” asked commenter @whatsupgamers12.
Users said she was “asking for a nuclear war” and a no-fly zone would result in a “Third World War.” Some questioned if she fully understood the implications of a no-fly zone policy. Others believed her heart was in the right place, but a stair climber marathon might not be the right outlet for change.
“The thought is sweet but this honestly won’t do anything,” wrote @roci.who.
“Doing something is better than doing nothing,” added @miaolsenlol.
In a comment, Sadovska said she raised $12,500 for Ukrainian families through her stair climber feat.
The Daily Dot reached out Sadovska through Instagram for comment on her protest.