Russian Olympic Committee's Evgeny Rylov came into the men's 200-meter backstroke event as the favorite. He lived up to the hype.
Rylov set an Olympic record with a time of 1:53.27, holding off the United States' Ryan Murphy (1:54.15) and Great Britain's Luke Greenbank (1:54.72) to claim the gold medal.
Another Olympic record is broken!<br><br>ROC's Evgeny Rylov wins gold and breaks the Olympic record in the men's 200m backstroke final and <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamUSA</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/ryan_f_murphy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ryan_f_murphy</a> surges to silver. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a><br><br>📺 NBC<br>💻 <a href="https://t.co/vlVjysbstt">https://t.co/vlVjysbstt</a><br>📱 NBC Sports App <a href="https://t.co/H2sxywUp74">pic.twitter.com/H2sxywUp74</a>
Russian athletes at the Tokyo Games are competing under the banner of the ROC after Russia's name, flag and anthem were banned from this year's Olympics over a state-sponsored doping program and subsequent cover-up.
Rylov is having a strong Olympics, having already won gold in the 100-meter backstroke. Both golds have been important for the ROC, whose men had a cold streak in the pool before Rylov snapped it:
"I was overwhelmed by joy ... now I just have to prove myself in other events," Rylov told reporters after winning the 100-meter backstroke. "I do understand the sky is the limit but I have achieved a very important result and of course I felt a huge relief."
Make that two very important results.
Beating Murphy was no small task—he won the golds in both the 100- and 200-meter backstroke at the 2016 Rio Games. And Murphy had some strong thoughts about the race afterwards:
Laine Higgins @lainehiggins17
I asked 🇺🇸 Ryan Murphy, who just took silver in the 200 back behind Russia’s Evgeny Rylov, about any concerns he had about his opponents doping. <br><br>“I’m swimming in a race that’s probably not clean,” he said. Full quote below ⬇️ <a href="https://t.co/Z264TV9vyq">pic.twitter.com/Z264TV9vyq</a>
Murphy probably isn't the only athlete who feels that way. But he certainly didn't pull any punches after his silver-medal swim.