Rio Olympics was like a cold war, says Russian Efimova

Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:12am EDT
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By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Yulia Efimova, who won two Olympic silver medals this month after being cleared to compete in Rio following a doping ban, has compared swimming in the Games to being at war.

Initially excluded from the event because of her doping record, the 24-year-old won a last-minute legal challenge to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and finished second in the 100 and 200 meters breaststroke in Brazil.

"I felt under pressure from the sportsmen, the fans, the press. This was awful and it was not like being at an Olympics, which usually unites people. This was not a competition, but a war - a сold war," Efimova told a news conference on Wednesday.

The four-times world champion announced in March that a doping test had shown she had taken the banned drug Meldonium and she was subsequently banned from all competitions.

But Efimova was cleared in July after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledged there was a lack of scientific evidence over how long Meldonium takes to be excreted from the body.

"The fact that my doping tests were taken abroad really helped me to compete in the Olympics," Efimova said. "If they had been taken in Russia, then this would have been a harder question."

Efimova was disqualified from swimming for 16 months in 2014 after traces of the anabolic steroid DHEA, which speeds up metabolism and helps with weight loss, were found in her system at an out of competition test in Los Angeles in 2013.


Russia's Olympic medalist Yulia Efimova, who won silver medals for Women's Swimming 100m and 200m Breaststroke, attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev