According to a report by Reuters, Putin called the suspension “absurd” and added that Russian and Belarusian athletes are facing discrimination based on their nationality.
In mid-March, Rylov appeared at a pro-war rally hosted by Putin in Moscow, which immediately led to him losing his sponsorship deal with Speedo. Rylov then announced he was pulling out of the 2022 World Championships, which ended up being a symbolic move as FINA banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing shortly thereafter.
On April 20, FINA handed Rylov a nine-month suspension from all of its sanctioned competitions and activities, noting that the ban was for “Mr. Rylov’s attendance and conduct at an event held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on 18 March 2022.”
FINA also confirmed that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be barred from FINA events through the end of 2022.
In 2014, FINA awarded Putin with the “FINA Order”, recognizing his “important support in the organization of major FINA events on Russian soil, thus bringing additional development to the FINA disciplines and providing increased value to Aquatics within the Russian society and worldwide.”
The Order was then withdrawn on March 1, 2022, the week after Putin led the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the ban from FINA, Rylov began competing at the Russian Swimming Championships in Kazan on Sunday, and while FINA said it was reviewing Rylov’s participation at the meet earlier his week, the 25-year-old has been in action over the first half of the competition.
Rylov won two Olympic gold medalists last summer at the Tokyo Games, sweeping the men’s 100 and 200 backstroke events.