Evgeny Rylov, a double Olympic champion in swimming, has pulled out from this year’s swimming world championships in Budapest, Hungary, in support of athletes banned from competing under the Russian flag following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Rylov won the Golds in 100-and 200-meter backstroke events at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The Russian also recently lost his sponsorship deal with swimwear maker Speedo after attending a rally hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week which commemorated the eighth year of Russia’s annexation of Crimea — which is deemed illegal by the Ukrainian government and not recognized in the West.
“I believe that losing competition is losing the development of sport. As sad as it may sound, sport cannot move without decent competitors.”
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has now banned the Russian and Belarusian athletes from this year’s world championships amending an earlier ruling that allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to only compete as neutral athletes or neutral teams.
FINA had already canceled this year’s World Junior Swimming Championships that were set to take place in the southwestern Russian city of Kazan.
This year’s world swimming championships, originally scheduled to be held in Fukuoka, Japan, will run from June 18-July 3rd in Budapest.