Varvara Subbotina says it’s nicer to see women’s legs sticking out of the water than men’s
Russian world champion synchronized swimmer Varvara Subbotina has suggested that her sport should be purely for women, despite growing male participation.
Subbotina, 21, has two world titles to her name but was forced to miss the Tokyo Olympics last summer after undergoing nose surgery.
His sport – now officially known as artistic swimming – has welcomed men in recent years, and male competitors have been allowed to appear at international level again since the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in the Russian city of Kazan.
Events featuring male artistic swimmers are still not part of the Olympic program, although governing body FINA has left the door open for this change in the future, potentially at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
In Russia, male swimmer Aleksandr Maltsev was a particular pioneer, winning four world titles and six European crowns in mixed events.
Despite this trend, Subbotina said she still considers her sport to be for women only.
“For me, synchronized swimming is just a women’s sport. Full stop. I have always said it and I will continue to say it. said the 21-year-old in an interview with Sport-Express.
“Before there were strange prohibitions [in some sports] for women, I agree.
“Why aren’t girls allowed to ski jump? If they train, if they prepare. This is probably excessive conservatism, here I don’t quite understand the desire for ‘security’”, added the Moscow-born star.
“But if we go back to synchronized swimming, it’s much more aesthetic to see how the women’s legs come out of the water, and not the men’s. At least because of this, it is worth leaving our sport exclusively to women.
Subbotina added that her position doesn’t mean she can’t support the likes of fellow countryman Maltsev as he breaks stereotypes.
“I communicate well with our [mixed] duo, I communicate with Sasha [Maltsev]. I always wish them good luck.
“But our relations with the guys don’t affect my position to limit the number of disciplines, just like conversely, the relations with the guys don’t deteriorate because of my position. I hope so,” said Subbotine.
The swimmer admitted that the participation of men would add more interest to the sport and that she understood the efforts of Russian officials and FINA for the inclusion of men.
“There will now be a male solo, under the new rules, men can perform in groups. So there will be interest. declared the triple European champion.
“I don’t like everything, but since they made such a decision, too bad. If we are talking specifically about interest, then it will definitely be there.
“Men in synchronized swimming have always aroused particular interest,” concedes Subbotina.
Subbotina herself was recently in action at the ‘friendship games‘ in Kazan, which has hosted foreign swimmers such as Belarus and Serbia.
The event served as an alternative for Russians who are banned from FINA tournaments following the conflict in Ukraine. This meant Subbotina and others missed the World Aquatic Championships in Budapest in June and July.
Questions have been raised about Russian and Belarusian participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics, although artistic swimming icon Svetlana Romashina – her sport’s most decorated Olympian – has recently expressed optimism about their appearance in the French capital.
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