2020 Tokyo Olympics: Team USA Swimmer Lilly King Follows Ryan Murphy, Speaks Out on Doping

by Emily Morgan

More and more Olympic swimmers are speaking out about the problems of doping in the sport. Now, Team USA swimmer Lilly King has joined fellow American swimmer Ryan Murphy in condemning the behavior.

On Sunday, during a news conference, without naming names or countries, King referenced “a country who should’ve been banned and instead got a slap on the wrist and a rebranding of their national flag.” She also referenced a country whose time at the 2020 Olympics “affected” and “tainted” the Games for Ryan Murphy. He placed second and third in his two individual races to his Russian counterparts.

She also noted a country that sounded like the one that ran a state-sponsored doping plan for years. She added, “Yeah, there are a lot of people here that should not be here.”

After Ryan Murphy lost for a second time on Friday to Russian Evgeny Rylov, Murphy said that his race was “probably not clean.” Like King, Murphy never mentioned Russia or Rylov. On Sunday at the same press conference, he said that his comments “were definitely taken a little bit differently” than intended.

According to Ryan Murphy, he, his family members, and his girlfriend have since received messages that “are not OK.”

However, he double-downed on his point. “I do believe there is doping in swimming,” he said while King nodded next to him. While he never made direct accusations, people understood the point he was driving home.

Ryan Murphy & Lilly King Wary To Say Too Much About Doping in Olympics

For years, Russia has devised a scheme, what the World Anti-Doping Agency describes as “a centralized doping and anti-detection scheme.”

After the country was exposed, Russia deleted evidence that identified individual athletes who benefitted from the plan. Currently, at least 145 Russian athletes or more are suspected of doping. Due to tampering of evidence, they cannot be proven guilty or innocent.

Just hours after winning a relay gold medal, Ryan Murphy stopped himself from saying anything else contentious. When reporters asked if she had anything to add, King, said that “as long as there’s been athletics, there’s been doping.”

She continued: “There were, I’m sure, a lot of people from certain countries competing this week that probably shouldn’t have been here.”

When asked if this has ruined her Olympic experience, King said: “I wasn’t racing anyone from a country who should’ve been banned and instead got a slap on the wrist and a rebranding of their national flag.”

“So, I personally wasn’t as affected,” King continued. “But Ryan was,” King said as she looked at him. “And if you want to comment on that or not, I don’t care. But, I know, I feel like that has tainted your experience, and for that, I’m so sorry.”