The Team USA women have been on a roll at the Rio Olympics. Swimmer Katie Ledecky broke her own Olympic and world record by winning gold in the womens’ 400m freestyle, our womens’ gymnastic team is kicking ass and is expected to win gold tonight in the all-around, 19-year-old Ginny Thrasher won the first gold of the Olympics, and April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings are undefeated at beach volleyball. Lilly King, only in her first Olympics at the age of 19, is the latest in a string of badass Team USA winners.
After it came out that the Russian National Team had been implementing a state-sponsored doping routine to its athletes, many wondered if the Russians should be allowed to partake in the Rio Olympics at all. After much speculation and a ton of digging, 2 weeks before the Olympics the controversial decision to allow the Russians to compete was announced. Many opposed the decision, including swimmer Lilly King. Yulia Efimova, the most promising female swimmer on Russia’s team, served a 16-month suspension in 2015 for alleged doping, and failed a drug test earlier this year. She was booed as she walked out into the Aquatics Arena.
King watched the screen in the warm up room as Efimova won her heat and put up her index finger as if to say “I’m number 1” during her celebration. In a now infamous video, King mocked the motion, and then went on to win her heat. “That’s just my personality. I’m not this sweet little girl, that’s not who I am,” King responded to the clip. “If I do need to stir it up to put a little fire under my butt or anybody else then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Later that night, King was placed in the lane next to Efimova, who refused to comment on the “feud”, and had the race of her life, winning gold, breaking an Olympic Record, and leaving Efimova in the dust to grab silver, while American Katie Meili took bronze, right behind Efimova.
In her post-win bliss, during an interview with NBC, King responded to the controversy, saying “you’re shaking your finger number one and you’ve been caught for drug-cheating. I’m just not a fan”.