Ex-Aussie Olympian says he's cleared to compete for Russia
Aug. 18, 2017
SYDNEY (AP) — Former Australian Olympian Shane Perkins says he has completed his sporting defection to Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed off on granting him citizenship.
In to bid to compete at Tokyo 2020, Olympic bronze medalist Perkins switched his allegiance after missing selection on the Australian team for last year's Rio de Janeiro Games.
The 30-year-old Perkins posted a picture of himself on Twitter wearing Russian colors and sitting on a racing bike.
"I'm the most excited guy in the world right now! I can make my dreams come true!" he wrote.
Perkins won a sprint bronze for Australia at the 2012 Olympics in London but has not been a member of Cycling Australia's high performance program since 2015.
Cycling Australia, which learned of Perkin's intention to swap allegiances last November, said it wouldn't stand in his way to represent Russia.
Perkins is a good friend of Russia's reigning world champion sprinter Denis Dmitriev, who took bronze in the sprint at Rio.
A statement on the Kremlin website detailed an executive order signed by Putin.
"The President resolved to grant Russian Federation citizenship to Shane Alan Perkins, born in Australia on December 30, 1986," the statement, dated Aug. 17, said.
Australia has granted citizenship to a number of Russian athletes over the years, including women's tennis player Daria Gavrilova.