December 6, 2022

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Russian Olympic champion banned from swimming due to Putin’s appearance in rally

Russian Olympic champion banned from swimming due to Putin's appearance in rally

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (AP) – Russian Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Rylov has been banned from the sport for a period of nine months. Appearing at a rally in support of President Vladimir Putin The Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Rylov stood on stage with medalists from other Olympic sports in event last month They wear a jacket with the letter “Z” across the chest. The letter is not part of the Russian alphabet but has become a symbol of support for Russian forces after it was used as a mark on Russian armored vehicles operating in Ukraine.

A brief statement from the world’s governing body for swimming, FINA, said Thursday it had “recognized” an earlier, as yet unpublished decision of a disciplinary committee to ban Rylov “after Mr. Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an event at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.”

Rylov was the star of the Russian swimming team at the Tokyo Olympics last year with two gold medals. His ban began on Wednesday and covers any international competition. The impact on Rylov is likely to be mostly symbolic because FINA has also extended its decision to exclude competitors from Russia and its ally Belarus from all international events for the remainder of 2022. He also lost a sponsorship deal with Speedo last month.

“The office also confirmed its position that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials will not be invited to any FINA event until the end of 2022,” FINA said on Thursday. FINA’s jurisdiction covers a range of water sports including swimming, diving, water polo and artistic swimming.

IOC President Thomas Bach has indicated that he supports disciplinary measures against athletes like Rylov.

“The IOC president made it clear that the IOC supports sanctions against anyone in the Olympic community who supports the war and continues to monitor the situation,” the IOC said on Friday in a statement about a meeting Bach held with Ukrainian sports. officials.

The IOC has previously urged event organizers to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams from participating in their competitions, or, as Bach said last month, “at least in special circumstances to prohibit any identification of their nationality”.

There were no reports of any disciplinary investigations against other Russian athletes from sports including figure skating, gymnastics and figure skating who also appeared at the March 18 rally.