The U.S. swimming team continued to rack up gold medals Monday night, as American Lilly King beat Russian Yulia Efimova in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Over the weekend, 19-year-old King had questioned why Efimova, who had served a 16-month suspension for using a banned substance, remained in the Olympic Games. Earlier this year, the Russian swimmer also failed a drug test for meldonium, although that decision was eventually overturned in the appeals process.
During the semifinals, the rivals taunted each other with finger wags.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 9, 2016
But King had the final say. She bested Efimova in the 100-meter breaststroke, even breaking an Olympic record set by Australian swimmer Leisel Jones in 2008, The New York Times reported. King’s performance clocked in at 1:04.93, while Efimova’s was at 1:05.50. Efimova took silver. American Katie Meili took bronze.
After her win, King doubled down on her disapproval of Efimova’s inclusion in the games.
Video by NBC Sports
“I do stand by what I said yesterday, but I have to respect the [International Olympic Committee]’s decision that they made and swim my race like I planned and not let that affect me,” King said.
“I basically said what everybody’s thinking,” she added. “They were glad I spoke out and I had the guts to say that and I appreciate their support.”
USA Today’s Christine Brennan told the NewsHour yesterday that the “U.S. has probably given the world the two worst cheaters ever in Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones,” but that the Russian doping scandal was different.
“The big difference is that for Russia it was government-sponsored, state-sponsored doping,” she said. “The equivalent would be if a member of President Obama’s Cabinet ran a five-year doping plan in the United States involving the FBI, the CIA, U.S. Olympic Committee, and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.”
To be sure, King didn’t mince words when it came to American athletes on the Olympic team who were also banned for drug offenses.
In other U.S. swimming wins, First-time Olympian Ryan Murphy took gold in the 100-meter backstroke.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY MOMENTS
On Monday night, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, known as the “Iron Lady,” added another gold medal to her collection in the 100-meter backstroke. The Washington Post made the argument why the world record-setting swimmer “is the most compelling character in the pool.”
— National Post (@nationalpost) August 9, 2016
Rafaela Silva won Brazil’s first gold medal in the games, beating Mongolia’s Sumiya Dorjsuren in the 57-kilogram division in women’s judo. The medal presentation ceremony was an emotional one for Silva, who, as The Washington Post pointed out, almost withdrew from the sport because of racism.
Video by NBC Sports
The Olympic Aquatics Stadium has repeatedly asked for silence from the Rio crowd, the Times reported. The crowd’s cheers has been a problem particularly for table tennis, a sport that prefers silence.