BRAZIL RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES.jpg
Lilly King of the USA celebrates after winning the women's 100m Breastroke final of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Swimming events at Olympic Aquatics Stadium at the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 08 August 2016.
Photograph: EPA/DAVE HUNT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

American swimmers hailed teenager Lilly King's win in the 100-metre breaststroke final on Monday as a victory for clean sport at the Olympic Games.

King swam an Olympic record of 1 minute 4.93 seconds, which would have been praiseworthy even before the identity of her vanquished opponent was taken into account.

Russia's twice-banned world champion Yulia Efimova could be considered something of a pantomime villain at the Rio Games if the issue at hand was not so serious.

Loudly booed before starting the race, she was finally cheered a little when she stepped onto the podium to collect her silver medal. By this point, her detractors seemed to have decided that lukewarm approval rather than further hissing was best.

"It just proves that you can compete clean and still come out on top with all the work you put in," an ecstatic King said. "There is a way to become the best and do it the right way."

American bronze medallist Katie Meili added: "Swimming is so special that I hope the powers-that-be are working hard to keep the integrity of the sport."

King had been involved in a verbal battle with Efimova throughout the heats and the pair engaged in a finger-pointing battle after posting fast times in the semi-finals.

She also stuck to her guns in the post-race press conference, agreeing that American athletics team-mate Justin Gatlin - himself twice banned for doping - should not be in Rio either.

"I believe sports should be clean. It should be on a level playing field," US legend Michael Phelps said in regard to Efimova. "To have somebody test positive not just once but twice and still have the opportunity to swim at these Games, it breaks my heart."

Efimova's second suspension earlier this year was for the newly banned substance Meldonium. She could have made the case she was being unfairly punished as it had stayed in her system after it was legally taken.

But it was her first 16-month ban, given in 2014 and back-dated to 2013, that really rankles with the other athletes.

Many were upset she was allowed to compete in Rio despite the International Olympic Committee initially promising to block any Russians with previous doping sanctions.

Efimova only won her case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to come to Rio last week and said she was relieved just to be competing.

"I'm happy to be here, it's very hard," she said. "These three weeks have been really hard. It's the best I can do right now."

The Russian may be content to move on, but others are less forgiving.

"We just have to be more on top of cleaning up the sport," American Connor Dwywer said after claiming bronze behind China's Sun Yang, who served a doping ban in 2014.

"The people that do get caught, I think, should be punished harder. I think Sun is a good guy, a great competitor, one of the best in the world. But as far as drugs testing goes I have no control of that," Dwyer said.

And while some are frustrated at losing medals, others have to put up with athletes who have doped, pushing them out of finals which could have potentially cost them sponsorships or funding.

“Cheaters are cheaters,” said Irish swimmer Fiona Doyle after being eliminated in the semi-finals. "They have signs all over the village saying we are a clean sport, and it’s not. And I just don’t think that’s fair.”

Latest news

Trump-style rhetoric is making world more dangerous, Amnesty says

Divisive and "poisonous" language used by politicians such as US President Donald Trump is putting vulnerable populations at risk and making the whole world a more dangerous place, Amnesty International charged on Wednesday.

Canada soon to begin resettling Iraqi refugees, most of them Yezidis

Canada will resettle 1,200 survivors of the Islamic State campaign to target religious minorities in northern Iraq, Canadian officials announced Tuesday. 

Breitbart editor resigns after release of paedophilia comments

Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial editor at the far-right Breitbart news website, resigned Tuesday after the emergence of recordings in which he appears to defend sexual relationships between young boys and older men.

Trump administration opens door for mass deportations

The US Department of Homeland Security laid the groundwork Tuesday for mass deportations of immigrants living illegally in the United States under an executive order by President Donald Trump last month.

Brexit bill: House of Lords says public can change mind on leaving EU

The British public should be able to change their minds on Brexit - just as Prime Minister Theresa May did, the upper chamber of parliament heard Tuesday during a marathon debate on legislation to kick off EU negotiations.

Italian lawmakers, rights activists clash over gay sex club scandal

Gay rights activists and conservative politicians clashed Tuesday after the chief of Italy's anti-discrimination office quit over allegations that money had been authorized for gay sex clubs.

EU countries agree new rules to avoid tax evasion

European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday reached a political agreement on new rules to ensure that multinational corporations do not declare profits in the countries where they pay the least tax but in the countries where they generate it.

Trump condemns "horrible, painful" anti-Jewish incidents

US President Donald Trump condemned a recent spate of threats against Jewish community targets across the United States, during a visit Tuesday to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

FinMin expects Croatia to exit Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday Croatia could exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring and that it was showing progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances.

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

Citizens invited to help create Croatian version of Monopoly

A project to create a Croatian edition of Monopoly, in which citizens can participate by submitting proposals and which could become a souvenir for tourists, was presented at a press conference on Tuesday.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.