American Swimmer Enrages Russians with Doping Comments


American swimmer Ryan Murphy enraged the Russian Olympic Committee by alleging he was “swimming in a race that’s probably not clean.”

The Olympian made his comments at the Tokyo Games after he took the silver medal in the men’s 200-meter backstroke Friday morning and Russian Olympic Committee team member Evgeny Rylov took gold, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“I’ve got about 15 thoughts. Thirteen of them would get me into a lot of trouble,” Murphy told reporters. “It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year that I’m swimming in a race that’s probably not clean.”

The Russian Olympic Committee was quick to respond on Twitter.

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“How unnerving our victories are of individual colleagues in the shop,” the committee tweeted.

“The old barrel organ started the song about Russian doping again. Someone is twisting the handle diligently.”

The committee added, “Forgive those who are weaker. God is their judge. And for us – an assistant.”

Did Murphy lose because the field isn't clean?

Murphy also finished behind Rylov and Russian swimmer Kliment Kolesnikov, respectively, in the 100-meter backstroke three days earlier and took bronze.

Kolesnikov seemed to mock Murphy in an interview after the race when he was asked about ending Team USA’s nearly 30-year Olympic gold-medal hold on the backstroke.

“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,” Murphy said after failing to defend his 2016 Olympic titles in the backstroke.

“It frustrates me, but I have to swim the field that’s next to me.”

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Murphy later clarified that his comments came after a conversation he had with Fédération Internationale de Natation [FINA] Executive Director Brent Nowicki that made him question the integrity of international swimming.

Nowicki told Murphy that “it’s going to take a long time to clear this sport of doping,” according to the swimmer.

“When you hear that from the top, that’s tough to hear,” Murphy said Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Russia officially is banned from participating in the Tokyo Olympics because of previous doping offenses, but a team of athletes from the country is competing under the Russian Olympic Committee name.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith