FINA Announces Nine-Month Suspension for Evgeny Rylov For Rally Appearance

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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FINA Announces Nine-Month Suspension for Evgeny Rylov For Rally Appearance

FINA handed down a nine-month ban for Olympic backstroke champion Evgeny Rylov after his presence at a rally in March.

The decision was announced Thursday. It was effective as of Wednesday, April 20.

From the FINA Press Release:

The FINA Bureau met today and acknowledged the decision of the FINA Disciplinary Panel to suspend Evgeny Rylov (RUS) from all competitions and activities organized or sanctioned by FINA, including any International Competition on the FINA World Aquatic Calendar, for a period of nine months, following Mr. Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an event held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 18 March 2022. Mr. Rylov’s suspension took effect on 20 April 2022.

FINA, at the same meeting, “confirmed its position that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials will not be invited to any FINA event through the end of 2022.” That effectively makes Rylov’s suspension a 20-day ban through late January. But FINA taking a stance is, if largely symbolic, part of an ongoing rebuke of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Rylov won gold in both the men’s 100 and 200 backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics, representing the ROC. He also earned silver in the 800 free and was the bronze medalist in the Rio Olympics in the 200 back. He was the 2021 Swimming World European Men’s Swimmer of the Year.

The Kremlin on Friday hit back at FINA for its decision.

“We believe this is absolutely contrary to the ideas of sport,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the decision. “When the strongest (competitors) lose the opportunity to participate, this ultimately harms international federations and international competitions.”

Rylov is the two-time reigning world champ in the 200 back, though he won’t defend that title this year in Budapest, with Russian and Belorussian athletes not invited due to the military conflict in Ukraine. FINA has been proactive in stripping Russia of hosting rights for international events, including moving the World Junior Championships out of Kazan after the invasion.

Rylov’s attendance in the rally in Moscow in March, in which he wore the “Z” symbol of Russian nationalism, cost him his sponsorship with Speedo. FINA said then that it was “deeply disappointed” at the reports of Rylov’s present and would investigate further.

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Bill Price
2 months ago

Is this really the kind of thing we want or expect FINA to regulate — athlete political behavior? And at an event that has nothing to do with FINA?

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Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill Price

yes it is – should be a lifetime ban.

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NCM
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Really? A lifetime ban? Let’s crucify everyone. Give me a break.

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Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  NCM

for appearing at a rally to openly support the invasion of Ukraine, which has killed many thousands of Ukrainians, including many children, yes a lifetime ban. imagine being a Ukrainian swimmer and having to share a pool with someone like this, who openly supports the destruction of your country. so let’s not crucify everyone, but let’s hold people accountable for their actions.

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Bill Price
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Private citizens are allowed to hold and express opinions. FINA has no authority to punish anyone for their opinions. This athlete did not invade Ukraine. If this goes to court the athlete will win. FINA has made a mistake.

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jeremy
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill Price

Bad analogy but in professional sports (ex. NBA or NHL) a player will sign a contract with a team that governs the ability for a team to make decisions that affect its brand which breach their contract. The League’s themselves can interject and make rulings to suspend or ban players based on altercations or events that happen. I didn’t know FINA was at this level. I can see their involvement when it comes to doping and other things that may take place in the pool or at competitions but was surprised at a non-related FINA event they have this ability IMO.

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Jared
1 month ago

I find it interesting that the toothless NCAA allow Russian athletes to take spots from US citizens to attend University in the US and get scholarships to boot. I guess since they allow men to take womens space in competition it should come as no surprise.

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