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American Swimmer Lilly King Calls Out Russian Competitor for Doping

Making waves in more ways than one. American swimmer Lilly King is calling out rival Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova for her past doping scandals. 

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Efimova, 24, held up a No. 1 finger after winning her heat in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal with a 1:05.72 time on Sunday, August 7, but King, 19, was not impressed. While watching her competitor’s hand gesture from a monitor, she wagged her finger at Efimova.

The young U.S. swimmer explained the finger waving to NBC and slammed her competitor on live TV. “You’re shaking your finger No. 1, and you’ve been caught for drug cheating. I’m just not a fan,” King said. 

Lilly King
Lilly King of the United States reacts after the second Semifinal of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Efimova was one of seven Russian athletes who were originally barred from the Olympics as part of Russia’s state-sponsored doping scandal, but she was later reinstated. She previously served a 16-month suspension for doping from late 2013 to February 2015. The athlete also tested positive for banned substance meldonium earlier this year, but the provisional suspension was overturned.

King went on to beat Efimova’s time, posting a 1:05.70 and claiming the top spot going into the finals. The two ladies will face off against each other in the 100-meter breaststroke final later this Monday, August 8. 

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Yulia Efimova
Russia’s Yulia Efimova smiles after competing in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke Semifinal during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016.

“Basically, what happened this morning was that I finished and then I waved my finger a little bit, because that’s kind of how I am,” King said after her win, according to USA Today. “Then tonight just now Yulia got done with her swim and I watching in the ready room — and there she is there shaking her finger. So then I got done and I beat her time so I waved my finger again. People probably think I am serving it up a little bit but that is just how I am.”

Efimova was even booed by the crowd as she prepared for the semifinal race. “[The booing] is unfortunate but that was her decision and that’s what’s going to happen,” King said. 

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