Olympics-Swimming-American Murphy says 200m backstroke race 'probably not clean'
By Aaron Sheldrick and Martin Petty
TOKYO (Reuters) - Ryan Murphy said Friday's 200m back final "probably wasn't clean" after losing his Olympic title to Russian Evgeny Rylov, but the US swimmer quickly fell back when asked whether he was accusing one of his rivals of fraud.
Murphy won gold in the 100th and 200th finals in Rio, but Rylov won both titles in Tokyo and set an Olympic record for the 200 on Friday.
"I have 15 thoughts, 13 of which would get me in big trouble," said Murphy when asked by a reporter shortly after his event if he had any concerns about his races regarding doping.
"It is what it is. I try not to get caught up in it. It is a huge mental strain on me to drive all year round, that I am swimming in a race that is probably not clean and that's it also."
However, at a later press conference, Murphy said he was only talking about doping in swimming in general and congratulated Rylov and British bronze medalist Luke Greenback.
"I have to be clear, I've never ..., my intent is not to make any allegations here. Congratulations to Luke and Evgeny. They did an amazing job, they are both very talented swimmers," he said.
"Ultimately ... I believe that it (doping) is still great at swimming and it is what it is."
Rylov had said he was surprised by Murphy's initial comments and at his own media conference he said he always supports clean sports.
"I always do the doping tests ... I couldn't forgive myself if I took something. I don't know how to react to it. I haven't been accused of anything," he said.
A Russian team spokesman declined to comment on Murphy's remarks.
USA Swimming had no immediate comment.
Russian athletes are competing at this year's Olympic Games as the "Russian Olympic Committee" as part of sanctions for doping scandals. They haven't hoisted their flags or played their national anthem when they win events in Tokyo.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Additional reporting by Martin Petty, Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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