Evgeny Rylov, the Russian Olympic gold medalist swimmer, is banned from sports for his appearance at the Putin rally

Evgeny Rylov, a Russian Olympic gold medalist swimmer, has been expelled from the sport of swimming for nine months after he appeared at a rally supporting President Vladimir Putin's invasion in Ukraine.

Evgeny Rylov, the Russian Olympic gold medalist swimmer, is banned from sports for his appearance at the Putin rally

Rylov, who was on stage last month with other medalists in Olympic sports, wore a jacket that had a "Z", on his chest. Although the letter isn’t part of Russian alphabet, it has become a symbol for support for Russian troops since it was used to mark Russian armored vehicles in Ukraine.

FINA, swimming's world governing body said on Thursday that it "acknowledged" a previous, unpublished ruling to ban Rylov from the disciplinary panel "following Mr. Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an Event at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow."

Rylov, Russia's swimming star at the Olympics in Tokyo last summer, won two gold medals.

His ban was effective Wednesday and applies to all international competitions. Rylov's ban is symbolic as FINA extended its decision to exclude Russia's ally Belarus and all other international competitions for the rest of 2022.

FINA had previously expelled Belarus and Russia from the world championships held in Hungary, June and July. However, it allowed them to participate in other events. FINA claimed that Russia had planned to boycott all international events, which Russia denied. This position has been clarified.

FINA announced Thursday that the Bureau had confirmed that Russian and Belarusian officials and athletes would not be invited to any FINA events through 2022. FINA covers all aspects of aquatic sports, including diving, swimming, and artistic swimming.


 

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