US silver medalist Ryan Murphy has claimed the 200m backstroke race was ‘probably not clean’ after he lost out on gold to Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov.
Murphy told reporters after the race Friday morning that it is a ‘huge mental drain’ to think he is participating in a race tainted by doping and said it ‘frustrates’ him that Russian athletes are competing in the Tokyo Games, after the state-sponsored doping program was exposed.
Moscow hit back at his comments branding the 26-year-old a bad loser ‘offended by defeats’ and said Russia’s sports stars were participating in the Olympics ‘whether people like it or not.’
Murphy bagged a silver medal for Team USA Friday finishing in a time of 1 minute 54:15 – just 0.88 seconds behind Rylov’s 1 minute 53.27 seconds win.
Team GB’s Luke Greenbank took home bronze, coming in at 1:54.72.
US silver medalist Ryan Murphy has claimed the 200m backstroke race was ‘probably not clean’ after he lost out on gold to Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov. Murphy, Rylov and Team GB’s Luke Greenbank (left to right)
Murphy sparked controversy after the race, appearing to suggest he was trumped to the top spot due to doping.
‘I’ve got about 15 thoughts. Thirteen of them would get me into a lot of trouble,’ he said, when asked if he thought the event was clean during a press conference where he sat alongside both Rylov and Greenbank.
‘It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year (thinking) that I’m swimming in a race that’s probably not clean, and that is what it is.’
He continued: ‘The people that know a lot more about the situation made the decision they did. It frustrates me, but I have to swim the field that’s next to me.
‘I don’t have the bandwidth to train for the Olympics at a very high level and try to lobby the people who are making the decisions that they’re making the wrong decisions.’
Greenbank also appeared to side with the American, admitting it was ‘frustrating’ that Russian athletes were competing despite the country being banned.
‘It’s obviously a very difficult situation not knowing whether who you are racing against is clean. It is something that is part of sports and the board needs to tackle that,’ he said.
‘It’s a frustrating situation. I just need to keep my mind on the race and control what I can control. I can’t really speak on Ryan’s behalf.
‘Obviously, there’s a lot of media around the Russian federation coming into the Olympics.
Rylov was also asked outright if he doped in the briefing – something he strenuously denied.
Murphy (pictured after taking silver) told reporters after the race Friday morning that it is a ‘huge mental drain’ to think he is participating in a race tainted by doping
The 24-year-old replied: ‘I have always been for clean competition. I am always tested. I will fill out all of the forms.
‘From the bottom of my heart, I am for clean sport. I am devoting my whole life to this sport. I don’t even know how to react to that.’
He insisted he had no hard feelings toward Murphy over his comments.
‘Ryan has all the right to think the way he does and to say whatever he says. This is today and here that we live. We don’t live in the past, we don’t live in the future.
‘The time will tell. He did not accuse me of anything, that is why I don’t have anything against him because he didn’t put up forth anything against me directly.’
The Russian Olympic Committee lashed out at Murphy’s suggestion of doping in a furious statement accusing the star of engaging in ‘propaganda’.
‘How unnerving our victories are of individual colleagues,’ it wrote.
‘Yes, we are here at the Olympics. Absolutely right. Whether someone likes it or not.’
‘The old barrel organ started the song about Russian doping again.
Rylov expressed his innocence after the race, stressing that he is ‘always tested’ and believes in clean sport
‘English-language propaganda, oozing verbal sweat in the Tokyo heat. Through the mouths of athletes offended by defeats. We will not console you.
‘Forgive those who are weaker. God is their judge. And for us—an assistant.’
Murphy later backtracked in his press conference insisting he was not accusing Rylov of cheating.
‘To be clear, my intention is not to make any accusations here,’ he said.
‘At the end of the day, I do believe there is doping in swimming. I think FINA needs to be more transparent both on the financial side and the drug taking side.
‘There’s people that know a lot more about this situation than I do. I’m training to be the absolutely best athlete I can be. So I don’t have time to get involved in this situation.
‘But there is a situation and that’s a problem. I’m sorry that there is a situation but I don’t know enough about it to give a 100 per cent certain answer.’
Russia was prevented from taking part after a state-sponsored doping program was uncovered, and they were also found guilty by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after failing to comply with a World Anti-Doping Agency probe.
Rylov, who completed a 100m and 200m backstroke double with an Olympic record, is allowed to represent Russia’s Olympic Committee rather than the flag along with hundreds of others, a decision that has been widely criticized.
Greenbank, who came third in the 200m backstroke, said it was ‘frustrating’ not knowing whether a fellow athlete had doped