“I’ve got about 15 thoughts, and 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble,” Team USA‘s Ryan Murphy began immediately after achieving Silver to Russian Evgeny Rylov’s Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
From that point on, the Tokyo Aquatics Centre would host an utterly tense Friday. Murphy, Team USA’s star swimmer, is now the silver medalist for the 2020 Olympics 200m backstroke. Russia’s Evgeny Rylov, 24, took the gold medal for the 200m race, alongside the 100m – setting an Olympic record in the process.
“It is a huge mental drain to go through the year knowing that I’m swimming in a race that’s probably not clean, and that is what it is,” Murphy would continue directly following their swim. “The people that know a lot more about the situation made the decision that they did.”
By his own words, Olympian Ryan Murphy, 26, says he does not have “the bandwidth to train for the Olympics at a very high level and try to lobby the people that are making the decisions that they’re making the wrong decisions.”
The tension would only rise from there. An hour on, Murphy, Rylov, and Great Britain’s bronze medalist, Luke Greenback, would have to continue the discussion for the world’s journalism stage.
“To be clear, my intention is not to make any allegations,” Murphy said at the time. “Congratulations to Evgeny, congratulations to Luke, they did an incredible job and they’re both very talented swimmers who work very hard and have great technique.”
Ryan Murphy Doubles-Down on Doping Claims at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Journalists, however, were confused by Ryan Murphy’s seemingly contradictory statements. Once pushed to clarify, Murphy would answer:
“One of the things that’s frustrating is that you can’t answer that question with 100% certainty… And I think over the years that’s come out, so I can’t answer that question.”
Murphy would then double-down on his stance. “I don’t know if it was 100% clean,” he said, “and that’s because of things that have happened in the past.”
Whether surprising or not, Britain’s Greenback would then join Murphy’s stance.
“It’s obviously a very difficult situation not knowing whether who you are racing against is clean… But I think it’s something that’s part of the sport,” he told the press.
To Greenback, it is a “frustrating situation,” but the Olympian plans to keep his mind “on my race and the things I can control,” The Guardian reports.
This did not, though, stop Greenback from being the one to address the elephant in the room by name. He would cite the “[known coverage of] a state-sponsored doping program going on and that more could have been done to tackle it… But it’s not for me to make those decisions.”
Through it all, Ryan Murphy would refuse to accuse Evgeny Rylov of doping directly.
“At the end of the day I do believe there is doping in swimming, that is what it is,” he would end his say on the matter.
As for Rylov’s defense?
“I have always been for clean competition. I am always tested,” The Guardian quotes of Russia’s star swimmer. “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. Ryan didn’t accuse me of anything so I’d rather not react to what he said.”