Arnold Schwarzenegger raised the prize money for Oleksii Novikov to help his cause.
Oleksii Novikov entered the 2022 Arnold Strongman Classic as one of the favorites to win the event. In the end, a close finish crowned Martins Licis champion with Novikov finishing as the runner-up. Despite his second-place finish, the Ukrainian strongman was awarded the same prize money as the winner to help his country during this time.
Novikov has been raising money to help Ukrainian soldiers in their current fight against Russia. He will be returning to his home country to help in the battle and because of this, Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to give him an extra boost.
For his finish, Novikov was set to make $25,000 but Schwarzenegger raised it to $80,000 so he would have more to take back to Ukraine. Schwarzenegger made the announcement during the award ceremony.
“We always see how sports bring everyone together. We’ve seen here not only the strongest men in the world competing but we also have seen a Ukrainian athlete and a Russian athlete competing in the same competition.”
Oleksii Novikov has been one of the biggest strongman names for quite some time now. He won the 2020 World’s Strongest Man competition. This came after a second-place finish in 2019 when he lost to four-time winner Brian Shaw. In 2021, Novikov did not qualify for the event. That will likely change this year as he looks to bring that championship back to Ukraine.
Prior to the Arnold Strongman Classic, Novikov announced that he was raising money to go toward food, water, medical supplies, and equipment for soldiers during this time. He took to his Instagram page to make the announcement and call for help.
“SENDING CRYPTOCURRENCY IS AS EASY AS CHOOSING THE AMOUNT TO SEND AND DECIDING WHERE IT GOES. ONE WAY TO SEND BITCOIN, THEN, IS TO SIMPLY COPY THE RECIPIENT’S ADDRESS TO YOUR CLIPBOARD, THEN PASTE IT IN THE SEND FIELD.”
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Oleksii Novikov knows that this is bigger than strongman. He continues to compete and does it for his country while raising awareness and money for what is happening. The gesture at the Arnold Strongman Classic shows that all athletes, no matter what sport, must stick together during difficult times like these.