Some Russian Olympic athletes are facing backlash after they participated in a rally that supported president Vladimir Putin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Athletes attended and took the stage at the event which featured a speech from Putin on Friday. Medalists from cross-country skiing, gymnastics, figure skating and swimming were in attendance at Luzhniki Stadium.
Most athletes were wearing a "Z," a symbol of support for Putin and Russian troops. The letter is used on Russian vehicles in Ukraine.
Athletes that attended included figure skaters Victoria Sinitsina, Nikita Katsalapov, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov; cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov; rhythmic gymnastics twin sisters Dina and Arina Averina and Olympic swim champion Evgeny Rylov.
They were on stage during the national anthem in an apparent reference to the Olympics, where the Russian anthem was not played due to doping allegations. Olympic swimming announced Rylov is under investigation for attending and has lost his enforcement deal with Speedo.
The governing body said (via ESPN):
"FINA is deeply disappointed to note the reports regarding Evgeny Rylov's appearance at the Luzhniki Stadium during Friday's rally. We are investigating the matter further."
Speedo also released a statement, saying, "Following his attendance at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow at the weekend, Speedo can confirm that it has terminated the sponsorship of Evgeny Rylov with immediate effect. 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 announced they will donate the rest of Rylov's sponsorship to the United Nations agency that cares for refugees, UNHC.