Lilly King, a 19-year-old from Indiana, finished less than a second ahead of Yulia Efimova on Monday night
Teenage swimming sensation Lilly King has put her money where her mouth is and beaten her Russian rival to take gold and an Olympic record in the 100-meter breast stroke after calling her out over doping allegations.
King, a 19-year-old from Indiana, finished less than a second ahead of Yulia Efimova on Monday night in a match-up that became one of the most contentious in the 2016 Rio Olympics so far.
When asked whether her victory made a “statement” about the rivalry with Efimova, King said, “I mean, obviously winning an Olympic gold medal is a statement.”
She added: “It meant we can still compete clean and be in the Olympics and that’s how it should be.”
On Saturday night, the 24-year-old Russian wagged her finger after she won her heat in the semifinals after she was booed by the crowd.
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Efimova failed a drug test earlier this year, but was controversially allowed to compete in Rio. She had served a 16-month suspension before that, as well.
On Sunday, just before King swam, she was seen wagging her own finger at Efimova’s image on TV. King went on to beat Efimova’s time in her own heat.
As if King’s feelings weren’t clear enough, she told NBC, “You’re shaking your finger number one and you’ve been caught for drug cheating. I’m just not a fan.”
King, who is from Evansville, Indiana, and swims for Indiana University, set off a firestorm of commentary for her shade at Efimova. All eyes were on Monday night’s match-up as fans wondered whether the Olympic newbie could back up her words in a head-to-head contest with the Russian, who is competing in her third Olympics and won bronze in 2012.
Fellow American Katie Meili claimed bronze, finishing hot on Efimova’s heels.