The Russian Olympic Committee did not take kindly to insinuations of doping among their athletes.
American swimmer Ryan Murphy sounded off after his second loss to Evgeny Rylov this week at the 2021 Olympics, calling it a “huge mental drain” to be in a race “that’s probably not clean.”
The ROC tweeted out a mocking response that seemed aimed at Murphy and other competitors who have bemoaned the Russian athletes’ presence in Tokyo.
“English propaganda is oozing verbal sweat onto the Tokyo Games. Through the mouths of athletes offended by defeats,” the ROC tweeted.
“We will not console you. We’ll forgive those who are weaker. God is their judge. He is our helper.”
Murphy finished the race in 1:54:15 in the 200-meter backstroke, just .88 of a second behind Rylov’s Olympic-record finish – days after finishing third in the 100m backstroke behind Rylov and his Russian teammate Kliment Kolesnikov.
Murphy swept the events in 2016, with Rylov’s win ending the US streak of 12 straight individual backstroke golds.
“I’ve got about 15 thoughts,” Murphy said. “Thirteen of them would get me in 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 yet that I’m swimming in a race that’s probably not clean, and that is what it is.
“The people that know a lot more about the situation made the decision they did. 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.”
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Russian athletes are still banned from competing under the Russian flag after their massive doping campaign was exposed in 2014, and will be until the 2022 Games. Instead, they compete as the Russian Olympic Committee, which cannot use the country’s national anthems or traditional uniforms.
Murphy was not alone.
Luke Greenbank, a Great Britain swimmer who finished in third behind Murphy in the 200m backstroke, echoed the silver medal-winner’s sentiments.
“It’s frustrating knowing there’s a state-sponsored doping program going on and not more being done to tackle that,” Greenbank told reporters.
Earlier in the week, American rower Megan Kalmoe said watching the ROC win silver gave her a “nasty feeling.”
“How badly our victories unnerve our colleagues,” ROC tweeted. “Yes, we are here at the Olympics. Absolutely rightfully so. Whether some people like it or not. You have to know how to lose. But not everyone can. And here we go again – the same old song about Russian doping is played by the old music box. Someone is diligently turning the handle.”
Rylov also maintained his innocence when asked about Murphy’s comments.
“I don’t understand this suggestion,” he said. “I was concentrating on the result.”