Lilly King Shows Strength in Appearance at Olympics

Aug 8, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; (Editors note: Caption correction) Lilly King (USA) poses with an American flag and her gold medal after the women
Aug 8, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; (Editors note: Caption correction) Lilly King (USA) poses with an American flag and her gold medal after the women /

Many of the Hoosiers very own competed for gold medals in the 2016 Summer Olympics but one stood out in particular with her competitive voice.

One of the best parts about the Summer Olympics is the chance to all come together and root on our countries own as they compete to win some of the most iconic sporting events to ever exist. You could even say for most younger generation fans, they are cheering for someone in their hometown or even at the same school. Many of the Olympic athletes on the United States are in college or just graduated and used their schools as a way to help better their skills as athletes and individuals.

Lilly King is an incoming sophomore at Indiana University, naturally it seems that the community of current and former students have rallied around her performance in the Olympic games. She shares the same bond as other Team USA members like Cody Miller who won a gold medal in the Men’s 4X100 Team Medley. They both call themselves Hoosiers. The support has been tremendous for all athletes competing in the Olympics.

What stands out about Lilly King is the fearless competitive nature to call out her opponent Yulia Efimova of Russia for being allowed back in after a country wide doping scandal eliminated most Russians from competing. From the finger wag to the comments in a post-race interview with NBC sports revealed her distaste for “cheaters”, New York Times’ Karen Crouse writes,

“In a post-race interview with NBC, King said, “You wave your finger No. 1 and you’ve been caught drug cheating?”

“I’m not a fan,” she added.

In a group interview in the mixed zone, King defended her actions. “I’m not this sweet little girl,” she said. “That’s not who I am.”

All the finger wagging set the stage for Monday night’s final, where their score would be settled in the pool. King occupied Lane 4. Efimova was in Lane 5. It was a duel at 100 meters. King turned first at the 50 and hung on to win with a clocking of 1 minute 04.93 seconds. It was her best time and a new Olympic record. Efimova was second in 1:05.50, 19-hundredths of a second ahead of King’s teammate Katie Meili.”

The type of passion Lilly King has shown in the pool and during interviews has sparked controversy. King says she is not the sweet little girl most would picture her, it shows apparent when she called out one of her opponents for a doping scandal. The support across social media has been a hot topic of conversation…

While it may merely look like trash talking between one competitor to the next, King reveals some of the real issues that the Olympic games has faced in years past. Doping from Olympic athletes has happened and been exposed in past games, but to have an athlete who is currently competing speak out is important for the integrity of the event. One of the pleasant surprises was to see Lilly King not back down to some of the scrutiny that her opponent Yulia Efimova expressed to media about making her trip to Rio “miserable”. This should serve as a proud moment for young athletes and Americans because it speaks to the type of character Team USA athletes are made of. More importantly it shows that having a voice and speaking on ethical issues can serve as an important stepping stone for others.

Aug 7, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Lilly King (USA) during the women
Aug 7, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Lilly King (USA) during the women /

Many should appreciate King for her fearless mindset in expressing her opinion whether or not it seems politically correct. I praise King for her willingness to speak on behalf of all Olympic swimmers and athletes hoping that the committees who continue to ignore or allow athletes into the games knowing they may have cheated. Reinstating athletes who were previously banned day before their events took place on shows the hypocrisy of the International Olympic Committee. Well after her post-race interview, King continued to express her opinions openly and honestly to protect the integrity of Olympics.

At the age of 19, King speaks for thousands of other athletes who train, study and work so vigorously to have the chance to represent their country. It speaks volumes that out of all the athletes on Team USA and across the other countries a determined student-athlete did not shy away from exposing the dirty truths about one of her opponents. She was given a national stage to speak on one of the lingering issues that the Olympic games faces while some of the more established Olympians stood in silence. While athletes are not forced to get involved in addressing these issues publicly, King took it upon herself to take a stand. After her comments about Efimova, her popularity across sports shows and social media sky rocketed,

Lilly King has impressed so many of the fans in the United States but around the world with her gold medal winning performances in the 100m breaststroke and the Women’s 4X100m medley relay. Walking away with two gold medals might seem like the highlight of her time in Rio, but for many we will remember the impact of her words she spoke on the fairness of competition.

Congratulations to Lilly King and the rest of the Indiana University Hoosiers that competed in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. These athletes continue to represent all that Indiana instills in their students.