Two-time Russian Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Rylov will not appeal the suspension handed to him by FINA last month.
Rylov was suspended for nine months by the international governing body for aquatic sports after he attended a pro-war rally in Russia in mid-March.
The 25-year-old four-time Olympic medalist informed TASS, Russia’s official state news agency, of his decision on Wednesday.
“I decided not to file an appeal, as the process could drag on for a long time,” Rylov said.
FINA implemented Rylov’s ban on April 20, meaning his suspension will be in effect through January 20, 2023.
FINA has also banned any Russian or Belarusian athletes from competing in any of its events through the end of 2022, so appealing didn’t make much logical sense for Rylov given that, as it stands now, he is only banned from competing less than three weeks longer than he would be if he wasn’t individually suspended at all.
He acknowledged as much in an extended interview with TASS.
Despite the competition ban from FINA, Rylov was in action in late April at the Russian National Championships in Kazan. After an investigation into the matter, FINA deemed this was not in violation of the suspension.
In his TASS interview, Rylov also spoke on why he continued to race in a Speedo suit at the Russian Championships despite the company ending its sponsorship deal with him after his appearance at the rally.
“Many have asked why I continue to use Speedo, but I don’t resent them,” Rylov said, via translation. “They take water to the offended, but I don’t like to carry water, I like to swim in it. I don’t get too excited about this.”
He goes on to say that if he were to set a world record in a Speedo, he would consider not applying to have it ratified.
“The only thing is, if I manage to set a world record in Speedo, I’ll think about whether to count it or not. Manufacturers indicate the barcode of the suit in which the world record is set, the same applies to victories at the Olympics. For them, this is advertising, and now it is expensive.”
He noted that he believes it’s possible to set a world record this year, but remains unsure whether it would be recognized by FINA given his suspension.
Rylov is scheduled to race at the Commonwealth Cup and the Spartakiad in Russia later this year. He also noted that he’s ineligible to race at the Salnikov Cup, scheduled for December 24-27, because it’s on the FINA calendar. However, given that Russians are banned from FINA competitions until the end of 2022, all Russian swimmers wouldn’t be able to race at the Salnikov Cup if it is indeed a FINA event this year.
Rylov was the Olympic champion in both the men’s 100 and 200 backstroke at the Tokyo 2020 Games last year, and added a silver medal as a member of the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC’s) men’s 800 free relay.
He also won bronze in the 200 back at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and has won the last two consecutive World Championship titles in the 200 back.