Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS
Three days of competition have elapsed at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and talk of doping and lack of leadership by the IOC is on everyone’s tongues. It all came to a boil tonight.
USA’s Lilly King, at age 19, found her voice and spoke up in a tense pressroom interview while sitting next to Russia’s Yulia Efimova. An hour earlier, King beat Effimova to win gold in the 100 breaststroke. Yesterday, King let her displeasure be known with stern finger-wag directed at Efimova that quickly became the talk around social media.
Talking to the press after her gold medal performance, King was asked whether beating Efimova, who has been banned twice previously for drug usage, was a statement,
Definitely. I think, you know, it just proves that you can compete clean and still come out on top with all the hard work you put in behind the scenes.
When asked about how everyone reacted to her previous criticisms of Efimova, King replied that it’s been “a lot of support for the most part. I basically said what everybody’s thinking. They were glad I spoke out and I had the guts to say that and I appreciate their support.”
King was not the only gold medalist to take a stance on the surrounding doping issues. The GOAT himself, Michael Phelps, laid down some harsh criticism in a press conference following semi-finals of the 200 fly, noting “it breaks what sport is meant to be and that’s what pisses me off.”
Phelps continued on, stating,
It’s sad that today in sports in general, not just only swimming, there are people who are testing positive who are allowed back in the sport — and multiple times… I believe sport should be clean and sport should be on an even playing field, and I think that it’s sad that in sports toady we have people who are testing positive not only once but twice and still having the opportunity to swim at this Games.
Efimova’s admission into the Games has been met, continually, with “boo’s” and “jeers” as she walked onto the deck with many feeling that she and many of the Russian Federation shouldn’t have been allowed to swim.
While there are many who are currently doubting the powers of the sports after their admission of Efimova and others, many athletes are still choosing to believe that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and swimming’s governing body, FINA, have the sport’s best interests in mind.
Newly minted bronze medalist Katie Meili of the USA poignantly noted that “Swimming is so special that I hope the powers that be are working hard to keep the integrity of the sport. If that is what it is (Efimova competing), that’s what it is.”
With five days left in the swimming competition, the decision by the IOC to look away from the realities before them are expected to get worse.