Russia swimmer Yulia Efimova may be best known for her rivalry with American Lilly King at the Rio Olympics. But now, Efimova is being seen again for her swimming outside of the pool.
On April 9, the breaststroker posted video of a unique at-home quarantine workout — doing swimming strokes while hanging over a kitchen counter. It’s been viewed nearly 200,000 times on her Instagram and countless more times on other social media outlets.
Efimova, 28, found herself in a public feud with King at the Rio Olympics.
Efimova was initially barred from the Games under an IOC mandate that any Russian who previously served a doping ban would be ineligible due to the country’s anti-doping violations at that time.
She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled that IOC stipulation unenforceable.
King memorably finger-wagged at an image of Efimova on a TV in the ready room and beat the Russian in the 100m breaststroke the next night.
“You’ve been caught for drug cheating, I’m just not a fan,” King memorably said in Rio, adding after the Games, “[Doping] was on all of our minds. We had team meetings talking about what it was going to be like. We were going to be racing dopers, and we all knew it.”
King and Efimova, while dueling at the last two world championships, have actually embraced.
“I wouldn’t say we have completely moved on, but we are definitely more cordial than we have been,” King said at 2019 Worlds in South Korea. “Again, that was three years ago. I was 19 and a half. … I think it was blown out of proportion a little bit, the whole situation, but again we’ve both grown up since then. We’ve both moved on, and I think we take this rivalry in stride.”
Efimova’s eligibility for the Tokyo Games is in question. In December, Russia was banned from the Olympics and four years of world championships in Olympic sports due to more recent anti-doping violations. Its athletes can still compete as neutrals, if meeting specific anti-doping criteria, similar to how they did at the PyeongChang Winter Games.
It was unclear from that ruling whether Efimova, who is not known to have violated any doping rules since Rio, will be allowed to compete as a neutral, should Russia accept the sanctions or any appeal to CAS by the nation be denied.
“I will behave in a similar way,” to 2016, Efimova said in December, according to RT.com. “I have already hired a lawyer. There is a rule that a person can’t be punished twice for the same offense. If you violate a driving code or instigated a brawl you will not be punished twice for that. I hope it will work, but I cannot be sure of [a positive outcome].
“Right after my race at the Rio Games, I said that this doping controversy was not over, it was just the beginning, and we would have problems in the future. It was quite clear. And with every new year the situation is only getting worse and worse.”
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