Russian swimmer calls Tokyo Games 'unfair,' accuses organizers of bowing to U.S. interests
'Unfortunately, in our world, money decides everything,' Yulia Efimova says
Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova on Monday branded the Tokyo Olympics unfair due to the number of athletes ruled out of the Games and criticized organizers for scheduling morning finals to meet the demands of U.S. prime-time television.
Now appearing in her fourth Olympics, Efimova cut a controversial figure at the 2016 Rio Games after being called a drugs cheat by American rival Lilly King, the eventual 100-metre breaststroke gold medallist.
The Russian, who was disqualified for 16 months from October 2013 to February 2015 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid, won the silver medal.
The pair will race each other again in Tokyo on Tuesday in another 100-metre final.
"I'm upset that it's impossible to go anywhere, many athletes are suspended from competitions. This is an unfair Olympics, when not everyone can compete," Efimova said in a Russian TV interview.
The 29-year-old Efimova did not spell out her reasoning but a number of athletes have been ruled out of competition after testing positive for COVID-19.
Russian athletes are also competing in Tokyo as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) because the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences.
"Unfortunately, in our world, money decides everything, and they don't pay attention to the interests of athletes," she said of the early scheduling, compared to the finals held in the late evening in Rio.
"We would have seen better results if we had the finals in the evening.
WATCH | While You Were Sleeping: Canada's 1st Olympic champion in Tokyo:
"World records would be broken. But it's also interesting because unpredictability increases [in the morning]."
Efimova said rooms in the athletes' village were small and criticized restrictions on movement.
"What annoys me the most is the gift shop that you can't go to. And if you go, there's already nothing left. I'd like to take home some souvenirs," she said.