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Popov Loses Bid to Become Head of Russian Swimming Federation -- April 28, 2004

MOSCOW, April 28. SWIMMING legend Alex Popov was defeated today in his bid to become president of the Russian Swimming Federation.

Popov lost to incumbent Gennadi Aleyshin, 40 to 33 despite having backing from some of the country's heaviest hitters including Vitaly Smirnov, an IOC vice-president; Leonid Tyagachov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee; and Vyacheslav Fetisov, Russian Sports Minister.

In his election campaign, Popov, 32, a four-time Olympian, promised to make sweeping changes in Russian swimming: "We are in dire need for a change," he commented, adding that the sport also needs a massive increase in financial support.

"I think it's time to change our approach as to how our sport is being run," he said.

Popov had promised that if elected, he would return to Russia from Switzerland, where he currently resides.