Olympic doping row as Ryan Murphy claims swimming race ‘probably not clean’ after Russian Evgeny Rylov wins

·2 min read
Murphy, Rylov and Greenbank on the podium (Getty Images)
Murphy, Rylov and Greenbank on the podium (Getty Images)

A doping row broke out following this morning’s 200m backstroke final as American star Ryan Murphy alleged the race was “probably not clean” after finishing second to a Russian athlete, before walking back on his comments.

Evgeny Rylov, competing for the Russian Olympic Committee, took gold ahead of defending champion Murphy, with Britain’s Luke Greenbank getting bronze.

Russian athletes competing at these Olympic Games under the ROC banner must have proved they were not involved in the state-sponsored doping regime which brought the country a four-year ban from international competition - subsequently halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport - but with a team of more than 300 athletes currently sitting fourth in the medal table, many have suggested the punishment is futile.

Watch: USA’s Ryan Murphy raises Olympics doubts after Russian wins gold

After losing his title to Rylov, who also won gold in the 100m, ahead of team-mate Kliment Kolesnikov and Murphy in third, the American was asked about his thoughts on the situation.

“I’ve got 15 thoughts, 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble,” Murphy said.

“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 am swimming in a race that’s probably not clean and that is what it is.”

At a later news conference, however, Murphy said he was only talking about doping in swimming in general and congratulated Rylov and Greenback.

“I need to be clear, I’ve never made... my intention is not to make any allegations here. Like, congratulations to Luke and Evgeny. They did an incredible job, they’re both very talented swimmers,” he said.

“At the end of the day ... I do believe it (doping) is still big in swimming and it is what it is.”

Rylov had said he was surprised by Murphy’s initial comments and at his own media conference he said he always supported clean sport.

“I always do the doping tests ... I would not be able to forgive myself if I had taken something. I don’€™t know how to react to this. I haven’t been accused of anything,” he said.

Reuters reported that a Russian team spokesperson declined to comment on Murphy’s remarks.

Greenbank, who had claimed GB’s fifth medal in the pool before Duncan Scott added a sixth with silver in the 200m individual medley soon after, expressed similar concerns to Murphy.

“It’s frustrating knowing there’s a state-sponsored doping programme going on and not more being done to tackle that,” he said.

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