Ryan Murphy, one of the captains of the United States swimming team in Tokyo, called into question the anti-doping measures of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in a press conference after the men’s 200 backstroke final.
Murphy, the 2016 Olympic champion in the 100 back and 200 back, was beaten in the 200 back by Evgeny Rylov and in the 100 back by Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov, both of whom represent the Russian Olympic Committee.
Wall Street Journal reporter Laine Higgins asked Murphy if he had any doping concerns and Murphy’s response was quite telling.
“I’ve got about 15 thoughts. Thirteen of them would get me into 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 year 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.”
But later, at a news conference with fellow medalists Rylov and third-place finisher Luke Greenbank of Britain, Murphy said he was not accusing the Russian of doping.
“I need to be clear,” he said. “My intention is not to make any allegations here. Congratulations to Evgeny, congratulations to Luke. They both did an incredible job. They’re both very talented swimmers. They both train real hard and they’ve got great technique.”
Rylov, who has long been one of the world’s top backstrokers, denied being involved in any doping schemes.
“I have always been for clean competition,” he said through a translator. “I’m tested. I fill out all the forms. I’m for clean sport. I’ve been devoting my whole life to this (sport).”
Rylov didn’t feel like he was the target of Murphy’s frustration, even after beating him twice in Tokyo. The Russian is a two-time world champion in the 200 back, and he also pulled off a 100-200 sweep at the 2019 championships.
“Ryan has all the right to think the way he does and say what he does,” Rylov said. “He did not accuse me of anything. That’s why I don’t have anything against him.”