Lilly King, the 19 year-old American swimmer who was inspired by Mack Horton to "call out" Russian drug cheat Yuliya Efimova before their showdown in the pool, has sensationally told a press conference that US world champion sprinter Justin Gatlin should not be competing in Rio.

Speaking to the world's media after beating two-time convicted doper Efimova in the 100m breaststroke final, King was questioned about whether the standards she wanted to see enforced in swimming should also apply to other sports.

A US reporter asked: "You've been very outspoken about Yuliya and her doping conviction and whether she should be here. Justin Gatlin, the sprinter on the US track team has failed two drug tests, served two suspensions, he's in the team. Do you believe he should be in the US team?"

King did not hesitate before giving an answer which is sure to make enormous waves in world sport just days before the Rio Olympics' most high-profile event - the battle for the title of world's fastest man between Gatlin and Usain Bolt.


"I have to respect the IOC decision, even if it is not something that I would agree with," she said. "No. Do I believe that people who have been caught for doping offences should be on the team? No, they shouldn't. It is unfortunate that we have to see that, and that it is such a toss-up between sports and between countries.

"It's something that needs to be set in stone; that this is something we're going to do to settle this and that should be the end of it. There should not be any bouncing back and forth."

Later King said she had been inspired by Horton, who two days earlier had called Chinese swimmer Sun Yang a "drug cheat" and then went out and beat him in the final of the 400m.

Horton, while receiving criticism from China, has been supported by his fellow swimmers, coaches and the AOC.

King too has been praised by her fellow swimmers. It will be interesting to see how her comments about Gatlin are perceived by US athletics officials.

We won't have to wait too long to find out.