President Vladimir Putin has awarded Russian citizenship to former cycling world champion Shane Perkins of Australia, according to a decree published by the Kremlin on August 17.
"My emotions are unbelievable," Perkins told TASS news agency. "Right now, I am the happiest person in the world."
Earlier this year, the 30-year-old track cyclist announced he was switching allegiance to Russia after failing to get on Australia's track cycling team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The head of the Russian Cycling Federation (RCF), Yury Kucheryavy, said that Perkins will be able to officially debut for the Russian national team at the track European championships in Berlin in October.
Perkins won bronze in the individual sprint at the London Olympics in 2012 after claiming first place at the 2011 World Championships in the keirin event. He was part of the Australian sprint team that won the 2012 World Championships.
The Kremlin has awarded Russian citizenship to a number of Western celebrities in recent years, including U.S. actor Steven Seagal, French actor Gerard Depardieu, and U.S. boxer Roy Jones Jr.