All news

Russia’s Olympic Champ Rylov says to continue swimming in Speedo sports gear

On April 21, Yevgeny Rylov was suspended by FINA from international tournaments for a period of nine months for his participation on March 18 in a gala concert at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, marking the reunification of Crimea and Russia

MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. Russia’s two-time Olympic Swimming Champion Yevgeny Rylov told TASS on Friday that he planned to carry on competing at sports tournaments wearing Speedo apparel despite the British distributor of swimwear and swim-related accessories' severance of his sponsorship contract.

On April 21, Rylov was suspended by FINA (the International Swimming Federation) from international tournaments for a period of nine months for his participation on March 18 in a gala concert at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, marking the reunification of Crimea and Russia.

Shortly after FINA’s decision, Speedo announced that it severed its sponsorship deal with the Russian swimmer, but Rylov was spotted using the company’s apparel at the Russian Swimming Championship last month.

"They did not ban me from swimming," Rylov said in an interview with TASS. "Many asked me why I kept using Speedo gear, but I hold no grudge against them."

The Russian swimmer referred to the saying ‘Hurt people are never at ease,’ which literally goes in the Russian language as ‘Hurt people are doomed to carry water loads.’

"Hurt people are doomed to carry water loads, but I don’t like carrying loads of water as I prefer to be swimming in the water. I am not really bothered by this situation," he said.

"However, if I break another world record swimming in a Speedo, I'll consider whether to credit the company or not," Rylov continued. "Producers indicate barcodes of wetsuits, which were used to set a new world record, including at the Olympic Games. It is advertising for them, which is very expensive nowadays."

Russia’s 25-year-old swimmer Rylov won two gold medals (in men’s 100-meter backstroke and in 200-meter backstroke events) as well as a silver medal in the men’s 4x200-meter freestyle event at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. He is also the two-time world champion in 200-meter backstroke competitions at the FINA World Championships in 2017 (Budapest) and in 2019 (Gwangju).

On March 23, the Disciplinary Panel of the world’s governing body of swimming, FINA, initiated a probe against Russia’s two-time Olympic Champion Yevgeny Rylov. "The FINA Executive confirmed that the FINA Disciplinary Panel has opened a procedure against Russian swimmer Yevgeny Rylov for a potential violation of the FINA rules following his alleged participation in a pro-war rally at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow," the statement from FINA said at that time.

Also, on March 23, the world’s governing body of swimming, ruled to bar Russia and Belarus from FINA’s upcoming international swimming competitions.

On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments referring to the special military operation in Ukraine.

Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.