Highest-paid female athlete Maria Sharapova plans to visit Chernobyl, perhaps after Wimbledon next July, as a United Nations goodwill ambassador.
Sharapova’s family was one of many affected by the nuclear catastrophe that took place 21 years ago. Her father and her mother fled the city of Gomel in Belarus — about 80 miles north of Chernobyl — shortly before the future tennis star was born in Nyagan, Siberia.
“A lot of families were moving, but not a lot of them could because they didn’t really know where to go,” the Russian told the Associated Press. “My mom’s dad happened to be working in Siberia, so that’s why we had a sense of direction.”
Gomel was one of the areas most affected by radiation. Sharapova said she still has family there, including grandparents.
The purpose of her visit to Chernobyl is to draw attention to the problems that people there face. (source: CBS SportsLine)