Speedo Cuts Olympic Champ Over Putin Rally Appearance, Gives His Fee To Refugees
Speedo has reportedly sunk its sponsorship deal with two-time Russian Olympic champion swimmer Evgeny Rylov after he appeared on stage with other high-profile athletes at a massive pro-war rally that Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted at the weekend.
Rylov’s fee will now be donated to help 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,” the statement read. “As part of this decision, any outstanding sponsorship fees will be donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.”
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 100m and 200m backstroke and silver in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics.
At Rio 2016, he won bronze in the 200m 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 the rally.