Speedo Cuts Olympic Champ Over Putin Rally Appearance, Gives His Fee To Refugees

Russia's Evgeny Rylov, who won two golds at the Tokyo Games, appeared onstage at the massive pro-war event.

Speedo has reportedly ditched its sponsorship deal with two-time Russian Olympic champion swimmer Evgeny Rylov after he appeared on stage with other high-profile athletes at a weekend pro-war rally hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sponsorship fees that Rylov would have been paid will be donated to help Ukrainian refugees instead, representatives for the swimwear maker said in a statement to CNN.

“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,” Speedo said in the statement. “As part of this decision, any outstanding sponsorship fees will be donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.”

Evgeny Rylov won two golds at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics.
Evgeny Rylov won two golds at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics.
Tim Clayton - Corbis via Getty Images

The terms of Rylov’s now-nixed deal with Speedo have not been revealed. The company did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for further information.

Rylov, 25, won gold in the 100 and 200 backstroke and silver in the men’s 4x200 freestyle relay at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics.

At Rio 2016, he won bronze in the 200 backstroke.

Russia’s doping ban meant he competed under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee.

FINA, swimming’s world governing body, said it was investigating Rylov’s appearance at Putin’s rally.

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