Give 19-year-old breaststroker Lilly King your next Rocky-type franchise, because she knows how to stoke a controversy and then deliver with the gold.
During the Olympic semifinals for the 100 meter breaststroke on Sunday evening, King made it known that she was not down with the games’ decision to allow Yulia Efimova, a Russian swimmer who was initially banned from the 2016 games in part of Russia’s doping scandal after failing a drug test, to compete.
After Efimova won her preliminary heat and flashed the number one sign with her finger, King, watching from a back room, waggled her own number one figure, but this time, it meant, “No, no, no, not today,” like the Dikembe Mutombo of the sea. After winning her own semifinal heat, King waggled her finger again, as if to say, “You are not the number one, doping Russian, I am the number one.”
“You’re shaking your finger number one and you’ve been caught for drug cheating,” King later explained, “I’m just not, I’m not a fan, you know.”
“I’m not the sweet little girl; that’s not who I am.”
On Monday evening, the two met again in the pool for the final of said event, and King destroyed (the way you do in swimming), beating Efimova by under a second to win the gold medal and set an Olympic record (with time of 1:04.93). King’s USA teammate Katie Meili followed the cinematically feuding pair by .19 seconds to win the bronze medal. Before the race, King was basically staring Efimova down, using her apparent distaste of her fellow swimmer to fuel her fire.
“We can still compete clean and do well at the Olympic Games,” said King after her win, rightfully cocky and shady as can be. “And that’s how it should be.”