Olympian Insists on Wearing His Favorite Cat Mask | 22 Words

An Olympian insisted on wearing his quirky cat mask while collecting his gold medal at this year's 2020 Tokyo Olympics... but was told he couldn't.

Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov said he felt like "crying" when he was told that he wasn't allowed to wear his cat mask while collecting his gold medal for the 100m backstroke.

According to rt.com, Rylov said: "I feel like crying. I wasn't allowed to wear my cat mask. They said, 'We're sorry, you can't.' I'm not going to argue with the organizers of the Olympic Games."

However, it seems like organizers changed their minds in the end because Rylov could be seen accepting his gold medal for the backstroke wearing his beloved cat mask, which was apparently a gift from his girlfriend.

People were loving that he was allowed to go ahead with wearing his mask...

One Facebook user wrote: "If not because of COVID, Tokyo Olympics gonna be the best Olympics ever in history. Full of culture athletes here and there."

While another commented: "This Olympics has been unusual... And I'm living for it."

"He's just representing his cat overlord, I see no problem here," a third wrote, while another added: " Well, one is knitting, one is wearing a cat mask... just waiting for one who shows his BDSM-outfit."

While it might be slightly unusual, we are loving it!

And unsurprisingly so, the Olympian has 5 pet cats at home who he often shares photos of on his Instagram account.

To make his 100m win even more special, it made him the first Russian man to win a gold medal in a swimming event since 1996, which he said was "overwhelming."

Speaking about his win, Rylov said: "I was overwhelmed by joy... now I just have to prove myself in other events.

"I do understand the sky is the limit but I have achieved a very important result and of course I felt a huge relief."

What you might not know is that Russia has been banned from the Tokyo Olympics after they were found guilty of state-sponsored doping, which the country denies.

However, Rylov is part of the 330 Russian athletes who have been allowed to take part, but they are not allowed to use the Russian flag or national anthem. They also have to compete under the name "Russian Olympic Committee" and if "Russia" appears anywhere on their kit, it must also include "neutral athlete."

According to the International Olympic Committee: "All public displays of the organization's participant name should use the acronym ROC, not the full name Russian Olympic Committee."

Russia was banned for 4 years but it has been brought down to 2, ending in 2022.