Olympic gold medalist Lilly King was tossed from her preliminary heat at the 2019 FINA World Championships when the organization ruled that she performed a non-simultaneous touch on her first turn—that is, she didn’t touch both hands on the wall at the same time. Although the ruling denied her a chance to medal in the 200-meter breaststroke, and although USA Swimming appealed (and lost), King said today that the disqualification was deserved.
Here’s the swimmer’s confession, along with some added sauce, via Karen Crouse of the New York Times:
See for yourself in the NBC Sports video:
Though King didn’t dwell on the DQ, her jab at the swimming federation was part of a larger controversy. She’s one of a few swimmers who believe FINA has been soft-handed in its treatment of Chinese swimmer and accused doper Sun Yang. (She’s held a strong anti-doping stance and was also in a feud of her own at the 2016 Olympics.) When Australian swimmer Mack Horton refused to be on the podium with Sun last weekend, King backed his protest:
“It was pretty great to see the athletes united on his stance and supporting him as well,” she said. “I don’t think anyone at FINA is going to stand up for the athletes, so the athletes have to stand up for themselves.”
Even if FINA wouldn’t have given her the benefit of the doubt on a close call, the video shows it wasn’t as controversial as it initially seemed. So, the swimmer came clean, got her little punch in, and will move on to the bigger goal. That’s cool for King, but now the beef’s fizzled at the World Championships. Let’s get some more deliberate splashing going.