The latest US athlete to cut the effortlessly grating figure of the wronged runner-up was swimmer Ryan Murphy, who, endlessly irked at losing twice in a week to Russian counterpart Evgeny Rylov at Tokyo 2020, launched a mini-monologue of microaggressions drenched in melodrama during his post-swim presser.
“It is what it is. I try not to get caught up in that. It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year, that I am swimming in a race that’s probably not clean and that is what it is,” defending champion Murphy declared after finishing second in the 200m backstroke final.
Unsurprisingly, Murphy’s mumblings featured empty platitudes aplenty and read like a bingo card of cliched phrases used by any US athlete bleating about unfair treatment and mental health when forced to face their own failings.
Imply all Russian athletes are unclean. Check! State you don’t want to get involved in controversy but in the next breath make a controversial statement? Check! Complain about the toll it takes on your mental health? Full house!
Sure, if you can’t attain attention by finishing atop the podium, achieve it by attempting to knock the winner off their perch with a bolo punch of passive-aggression in one fell swoop of disparagement, discrediting and degrading comments, especially if they are a country whose name no one is legally allowed to utter, to make sure everyone talks about only you.