Lilly King won fair and square, and she’s not going to let you forget it.
The American swimmer claimed gold in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Monday night, beating out her rival, Russia’s Yulia Efimova, who previously tested positive for banned substances not once, but twice.
Lilly King wins her gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke
King and Efimova got into a finger-wagging back-and-forth quarrel leading up to the medal round. King has been especially critical of Efimova, who was approved for competition in Rio just hours before being scheduled to swim. But she has also said that American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who tested positive for banned substances twice, as well, should not be allowed back in the Olympics, either.
“It’s incredible, just winning a gold medal, and knowing I did it clean,” King said after she won the gold.
Asked whether she hoped she had sent a message, King replied, “Yeah, I hope I did. You know, we can still compete clean and do well at the Olympic games, and that’s how it should be.”
King, 19, set an Olympic record with her time of 1 minute, 4:93 seconds in the final swim. Efimova finished in second place, clocking in at 1:05:50. But as good as King is in the water, it’s what she’s doing outside of it that’s cementing her legacy.
“I’m not this sweet little girl,” she said earlier this week. “That’s not who I am.”
And that’s why Americans are rooting for you so loudly, Lilly.