Russian Olympians face backlash after Vladimir Putin rally

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to deliver his speech at the concert marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 18, 2022. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin comes to deliver his speech at the live performance marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the condition status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 18, 2022. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo by way of AP)


Russian Olympic athletes who participated in a rally supporting President Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine are going through a backlash, with a person getting rid of a sponsorship deal and experiencing a disciplinary investigation.

Medalists from cross-region skiing, gymnastics, determine skating and swimming collected on phase at the Luzhniki Stadium on Friday as element of the live performance and entertainment method all around Putin’s speech.

Olympic champion swimmer Evgeny Rylov is less than investigation from the sport’s governing physique, recognized as FINA, for attending the occasion.

“The FINA Govt verified that the FINA Disciplinary Panel has opened a procedure in opposition to Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov for a prospective violation of the FINA rules pursuing his alleged participation in a professional-war rally at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow,” the swimming federation said Wednesday in a statement. “The FINA Executive has asked for that the panel’s proceedings be expedited.”

Rylov also dropped his endorsement offer with swimwear company Speedo for the reason that of his involvement in the professional-Putin rally.

“Following his attendance at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at the weekend, Speedo can verify that it has terminated the sponsorship of Evgeny Rylov with rapid effect,” the company mentioned. “We condemn the war in Ukraine in the strongest probable way and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, our athletes and our teammates who have been impacted by the conflict.”

Speedo extra it will donate the remainder of Rylov’s sponsorship charge to UNHCR, the United Nations agency caring for refugees.

Most of the athletes, which includes Rylov, were being pictured carrying jackets with a “Z” on the upper body at the rally. The letter is just not aspect of the Russian alphabet but has grow to be a symbol of support for Russian troops after it was utilised as a marker on Russian armored automobiles functioning in Ukraine.

Other Olympic medalists athletes in attendance integrated determine skaters Victoria Sinitsina, Nikita Katsalapov, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov cross-state skier Alexander Bolshunov and rhythmic gymnastic twin sisters Dina and Arina Averina.

The athletes stood on stage as the nationwide anthem was performed in an obvious reference to how Russian teams at past year’s Summer time Olympics in Tokyo and this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing did not have the anthem at their ceremonies in the fallout from a long time of doping disputes.

The party was held on the anniversary of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, with patriotic music and praise for troops and Russia-backed separatists.

“Not so very long back we supported them in this tough Olympic time, now they guidance the war towards us and our region,” Ukrainian ice dancer Oleksandra Nazarova wrote on Instagram previous 7 days with a picture of 4 Russian skaters getting aspect in the rally.

Nazarova and husband or wife Maksym Nikitin are both equally from Kharkiv, the mostly Russian-talking town in northeastern Ukraine which has been subjected to intensive bombardments by Russian forces.

Considering that the invasion, dozens of sporting activities banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from their activities immediately after the Intercontinental Olympic Committee suggested they be expelled from competitiveness. Belarus has been an ally of Russia in the war.

Swimming, even so, had said it would permit Russians and Belarusians to compete “in a neutral capacity” but hardened its stance Wednesday with a entire ban from the entire world championships.

Several hours previously, Rylov experienced claimed on Instagram he will boycott the swimming world championships in June and July “as a indication of support” for Russian athletes who have been banned from other competitions.

FINA also stated Russia has now withdrawn from all worldwide competitions.

There is a precedent for a Russian competitor remaining personally punished for supporting federal government procedures. Gymnast Ivan Kuliak is dealing with a disciplinary hearing for wearing a “Z” symbol on the podium next to a Ukrainian competitor, and chess participant Sergey Karjakin was suspended for six months Monday for social media posts with strident assistance for Putin and Russian troops.


A lot more AP sports activities: activities and