Russian breaststroker Yulia Efimova, who won the silver medal against America's newest darling Lilly King on Monday night, has accused the media of attempting to re-start the Cold War via sports. Which, to be fair, they kind of were.
From The Guardian:
“I understand the people who didn’t congratulate me because the media was full of fake stories about me,” said Efimova, according to Russia’s Tass agency in Rio. “But on the other hand I don’t really understand the foreign competitors. All athletes should be above politics, but they just watch TV and believe everything they read. I always thought the cold war was long in the past. Why start it again, by using sport?”
Because it makes for great press.
Like it or not, the Russians have re-cemented themselves as the number one villain on the world stage. The authoritarian qualities of Vladimir Putin plus the invasion of Crimea plus the massive state-run doping ring have combined to create a nearly Bond-esque villain.
Efimova was perhaps just a little too cocky when she displayed the "number one" after her heat. She's been suspended for doping. She knows she's going to be scrutinized. She could have shut King down by beating her, but she didn't. While it may be a little unfair for the media to go full Rocky IV on her, you can't help a good media narrative.