Evgeny Rylov Appears at Rally Supporting Russian Invasion of Ukraine; Speedo Pulls Sponsorship

RYLOV Evgeny ENS Energy Standard (ENS) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 9 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Evgeny Rylov -- Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Evgeny Rylov Appears at Rally Supporting Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The most significant news story in the world over the last month has been Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, which has been widely condemned by other world leaders. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he intends to bring the Ukraine, which was part of the former Soviet Union, under Russian control. And at a major rally in support of the invasion on Friday, one of Russia’s top swimmers made an appearance.

Evgeny Rylov the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 and 200 backstroke , was among those on stage with Putin and wearing the “Z” which has become a symbol for the invasion. In the below tweet naming the Russian athletes involved in the rally, Rylov can be seen second from the left.

Note that veteran Russian sprinter Vladimir Morozov is not in the photo, although there is an athlete with an identical name pictured.

Speedo responded by terminating Rylov’s contract.

“Following his attendance at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at the weekend, Speedo can confirm that it has terminated the sponsorship of Evgeny Rylov with immediate effect. We condemn the war in Ukraine in the strongest possible way and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, our athletes and our teammates who have been impacted by the conflict.As part of this decision, any outstanding sponsorship fees will be donated to UNHCR.” Speedo said. 

Given the nature of international sport, it was nearly inevitable that swimming would get caught in the crosshairs of Putin’s invasion, and we will see if there are ramifications for Rylov’s position on the conflict. In addition to his status as one of the world’s best backstrokers, Rylov is a staff sergeant in the Moscow Oblast Police.

When contacted by Swimming World, FINA provided this statement in response to Rylov’s participation in the rally: “FINA is deeply disappointed to note the reports regarding Evgeny Rylov’s appearance at the Luzhniki Stadium during Friday’s rally. We are investigating the matter further.”

While numerous international sports organizations have announced a full ban on Russian athletes and Russian-hosted events, FINA has yet to make that call, and the 2022 Short Course World Championships remain on the calendar for Kazan, Russia, in December.

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Guimaraes Cayley
6 months ago

Wasn’t Rylov involved in doping suspicion? I follow a lot of Russian athletes. Some of them have blocked me (Gymnast Alexei Nemov and others). A swimmer friend told me she has to use VPN from other countries in order to access some outside information – she said they are back to old KGB rules. She is tired and afraid.

Last edited 6 months ago by Guimaraes Cayley
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Mike
6 months ago

Actually, the greater censorship is more the other way around.Non-stop anti-Russian propaganda based on half truths and outright lies.

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Tomek
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Are you stupid enough to believe that it is coincident that Putin’s political opponents are either poisoned or prosecuted for fraud?

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Veritas
6 months ago

It would be interesting to read the contractual language that Speedo concludes lets its terminate this contract. Russians sometimes end up dead for opposing the regime. Just ask Alexander Litvinenko about this. Oh wait, you can’t because Putin had him killed. Subjects of police states do and say things all the time that they don’t want to say or do because they fear imprisonment or death, and surely Speedo was aware of where Rylov lived when it entered into the sponsorship agreement. Rylov might have a decent breach of contract case.