Besides being an international sporting event, the ongoing Olympics in the city of Tokyo are also unique for they are being held amidst a pandemic. And for this reason athletes are seen sporting face masks of a variety of colours and prints. This week, Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov was under the spotlight not just for winning gold for the 100-meter backstroke event becoming the first Russian in 25 years to win in the pool, but also for insisting on wearing a cat-print face mask at the podium.
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 27, 2021
The 24-year-old Olympian certainly adores cats as the athlete told rt.com that he was on the verge of crying when the organisers told him to wear another mask. The cat mask was a gift to Rylov from his girlfriend who runs an Instagram page where she posts pictures of cat models. The Tokyo Olympics organisers at the event told Rylov that he cannot wear the mask. At that point the athlete found himself in a situation as he did not want to argue with the organisers of the Olympic Games.
Rylov’s love for his feline pets is quite visible on his Instagram handle. In his latest Instagram post, Rylov is seen arriving at Moscow with his girlfriend welcoming him as they both embraced each other wearing the famous cat face mask.
In another Instagram post, Rylov posted a picture in his swimming gear with the cat face mask on as he expressed his gratitude to his supporters. Written in Russian, Rylov mentioned in the caption, “It was a good race. Guys, thanks. I am glad to be part of the team.” Maintaining his humility, the athlete further wrote, “I did not manage to swim as well as I wanted, but I tried. Thank you very much everyone for your support, this is important. There are still a lot of interesting things ahead.”
Rylov won the 100m backstroke final in Tokyo, defeating his fellow countryman Kliment Kolesnikov by just 0.02 seconds.