Tokyo 2020: US swimmer Murphy says 'race probably not clean' after Rylov win
- Evgeny Rylov said he was "surprised" by Ryan Murphy's comments, which he described as "strange".
American Ryan Murphy cast doubt over the victory of Russian Evgeny Rylov in the 200m backstroke on Friday by saying: "I'm swimming in a race that's probably not clean."
Rylov said he was "surprised" by Murphy's comments, which he described as "strange". (Full Tokyo 2020 Coverage)
Murphy had to settle for silver at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre after being beaten for a second time this week by the 24-year-old Rylov, who also clinched gold in the 100m backstroke on Tuesday.
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In that event Murphy won bronze with Kliment Kolesnikov, also competing for the Russian Olympic Committee team, taking silver.
Murphy won gold in the 200m in Rio, where Rylov claimed bronze, but the pair have been on opposing trajectories since, with Murphy only breaking under 1:54 once, in 2018, while Rylov triumphed at each of the last two world championships.
Asked if he thought the race was fair, Murphy said: "I've got about 15 thoughts, 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble. It is what it is. I try not to get caught up in that.
"It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year that I'm swimming in a race that's probably not clean, and that is what it is."
Russia are banned from Tokyo 2020 after being found guilty of state-sponsored doping, but more than 330 Russian athletes have been allowed to compete under the name of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and wear the country's colours.
It means Russia has a significant Olympic presence and many believe their punishment has not been tough enough.
"The people that know a lot more about the situation made the decision they did," said Murphy. "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."
- 'I've always been clean' -
Murphy had earlier hinted at his frustration immediately after the race.
"I just ran into a really good guy from Russia, or the Russian Olympic Committee, whatever you want to call it," Murphy said.
Rylov said he was innocent and questioned whether Murphy's comments had been heard correctly.
"I do not understand this suggestion. I was concentrating on the result. Next question," said Rylov.
"It's strange because if you look at my appearance and physiology it's quite a strange suggestion to make. I am really surprised to hear this."
Rylov then addressed the issue again in a press conference. "I have always been in clean condition. I've always tested and filled out the forms," he said.
"From the bottom of my heart I'm for clean sports. I've devoted my whole life to this sport. I don't even know how to react to this."
Rylov posted a new Olympic record time of 1min 53.27sec, ahead of Murphy (1:54.15) and Britain's Luke Greenbank (1:54.72).
The Russian's victory ended American dominance in the event, which had seen them claim gold in the men's 200m backstroke at each of the last six Olympic Games.
It also adds to Rylov's own impressive collection in Tokyo. He picked up a silver medal in the men's 4x200m relay to go with his two backstroke golds.