Lilly King echoed fellow U.S. swimming medalist Ryan Murphy's criticism of the presence of Russian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics and raised it a notch, saying, "There are a lot of people here that should not be here."
The winner of a silver and a bronze this week in the 200- and 100-meter breaststroke events, King was responding on August 1 to the Russian Olympic Committee's president saying the ROC squad's medals are the "best answer" to critics.
Russian athletes deemed clean from doping are competing under an ROC team banner at these games, although they can't use the Russian name, flag, or anthem.
Russia is still serving a multiyear ban on international competition after Russia was found to have a massive, state-sponsored cheating program ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics that helped evade anti-doping rules in a wide array of sports.
It has sent depleted ROC squads to the past two Olympics.
ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said critics “supposed that as a matter of fact our athletes can’t compete without doping," but said Russians in Tokyo “proved the opposite, not just with words but with their deeds and results.”
Without mentioning Russia by name, Murphy this week suggested after finishing behind Russian swimmer Yevgeny Rylov in two medal races that those events were "probably not clean."
He later said he wasn't targeting Rylov but the sport.
“I was asked a question about doping and swimming and I answered honestly," Murphy said. "I do think there’s doping in swimming.”
King was more direct concerning Russia's history of cheating.
“I wasn’t racing anyone from a country who should have been banned and instead got a slap on the wrist and rebranded their national flag,” Lilly said, sitting next to Murphy. “So, I personally wasn’t as affected. But Ryan was.”
Russian athletes have won 40 medals in Tokyo, 11 of them gold.