Russia's synchronised swimming team has been barred from wearing swimsuits featuring the depiction of a bear in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
As per last year’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling on the dispute between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), Russian athletes will not be able to compete in major international competitions under the Russian flag until 16 December, 2022; the International Olympic Committee (IOC) apparently thinks bears are "too Russian" and therefore shouldn't be used on costumes worn by athletes who supposedly aren't representing the country.
As five-time Olympic champion Svetlana Romashina explained, she and Svetlana Kolesnichenko (the other member of their Olympic duo) were forced to choose a different swimsuit design due to the sanctions imposed against the Russian delegation.
"We submitted the swimsuits’ design for approval and were told that because the swimsuits feature the depiction of a bear they cannot be approved," she said.
Romashina also revealed that the name of the music track featured in their programme – "With Russia From Love" – was also altered.
"The word ‘Russia’ was removed, leaving only ‘With … From Love’," she said. "We were shown confirmation that the appropriate recommendations were issued by the IOC – bear is banned."