Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rio 2016 Day 3 Summary: Cold war in the pool as Lilly King edges Yulia Efimova


* There was madness in the pool in Rio as 19-year-old American Lilly King backed up her comments about doping offender Yulia Efimova by beating the Russian in the 100m breaststroke, clocking an Olympic record 1:04.93.

Before the race, King had called out Efimova for her doping past (the Russian was suspended for 16 months for failing a drug test in 2014 and was suspended this year for testing positive for meldonium before the ban was lifted because they were unsure whether she had stopped taking the drug before or after it was added to the list of prohibited substances on January 1, 2016).

Efimova was banned from Rio up until the last second and was reinstated in mysterious fashion, without anyone really knowing how and why. She's been getting booed at each of her races in Rio and King did not back down in her stance that athletes who have previously tested positive for a drug should not be at the Olympics.
And while Efimova, who was in tears while talking to the press after taking silver, likened the atmosphere in Rio to the "Cold War", King insists her stance is not "anti-Russian". Asked if she thought her fellow American, two-time doping offender Justin Gatlin should be at the Olympics, King said: "Do I think someone who has been caught for doping should be on the team? No, I don’t."

It's been very interesting seeing how outspoken the swimmers have been about their disdain for their cheating colleagues, which is not necessarily the case in track and field where not everyone is calling out Gatlin publicly. With Mack Horton calling Sun Yang a "drugs cheat" and King ripping Efimova to shreds, there's definitely been an added element of intrigue in the pool this week.

* Sun Yang shrugged off his critics and won a stacked 200m freestyle on Monday night, with a time of 1:44.65 with Chad le Clos (essentially a "fly guy" as he puts it) taking silver with 1:45.20 and American Conor Dwyer taking bronze with 1:45.23. World champion James Guy missed the podium coming fourth in 1:45.49.

* China's Chen Aisen and Lin Yue, teaming up for the first time at an Olympics, won 10m synchro gold in diving with Americans David Boudia and Steele Johnson taking silver and Brits Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow snagging bronze. Daley and Goodfellow fell into the pool as they celebrated and Daley, who took individual bronze in London, continues to be the happiest-looking bronze medalist I've ever seen.

We all know Daley has superstar status in the UK, and with his engaged to Dustin Lance Black, he probably is in the US as well. But the fact that UK media splashed Daley's face all over the newspapers and websites, paying little attention to his synchro partner, Goodfellow, was not right. It prompted Goodfellow's mother to call out the media on ignoring her son. So in the spirit of giving the young British diver the recognition he deserves, here's his BBC Rio Postcard video:

* Brazil got its first gold thanks to judoka Rafaela Silva who upset world No1 Sumiya Dorjsuren in the under-57kg final.

* Croatian army officer Josip Glasnovic won a tense shoot-off to secure gold in men's Trap shooting. Egypt's Ahmed Kamar suffered heartbreak in the semi-finals when he lost a shoot-off against Britain's Edward Ling to miss out on advancing to the bronze medal match. Kamar ended up placing fifth overall which is a tremendous achievement. 

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