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29 Jul, 2021 16:15

US rower Megan Kalmoe has ‘nasty feeling’ seeing Russians compete at Tokyo Olympics

US rower Megan Kalmoe has ‘nasty feeling’ seeing Russians compete at Tokyo Olympics

Megan Kalmoe, part of the US rowing team at the Tokyo Olympics, says that it is 'really disappointing' to see Russian athletes compete at this summer's event after duo Vasilisa Stepanova and Elena Oriabinskaia won silver.

Russian athletes are competing under the 'Team ROC' banner in Tokyo, reflecting that they are representing the Russian Olympic Committee rather than Russia itself due to sanctions imposed after a WADA investigation into long-running doping allegations.

The ROC team has so far won 28 medals (including 8 golds) in less than a week of official Olympic competition – although some rivals appear bitter at seeing Russian athletes performing to such a high level.

One such athlete is American Megan Kalmoe, who displayed her frustration at ROC rowers Stepanova and Oriabinskaia after they took silver in the coxless pair A final on Thursday. 

"Seeing a crew who shouldn’t even be here walk away with a silver is a nasty feeling," Kalmoe snipped wrote on Twitter.

"Really disappointing overall and I feel for the other athletes in the A Final. Big love to all my friends and frenemies who gave it everything out there."

When asked by a person on Twitter if she felt it was fair to place "all Russian athletes into the same category," she replied: "Surely you must be joking since their M4X (men's quadruple sculls) just got busted for doping."

Kalmoe and her rowing partner Tracy Eisser competed in the same semi-final as the ROC team, with the Americans coming home fifth and Russia placing second.

Just three teams advanced to the finals, where Stepanova and Oriabinskaia scooped silver behind New Zealand and ahead of Canada in third.  


However, this appears to be scant consolation for Kalmoe, who has taken a hardline stance on the 335-strong Russian contingent in Tokyo.

"I just posted on Twitter a couple of things that I’m sure some people will be upset about, or maybe they won't," she later explained to row2k.com.

"But I think a lot of people in this field are very, very classy women who are probably a little bit too polite to say some of the stuff that I’m willing to say, especially because I wasn’t in the A-final, and also because Russia beat us by enough places in our qualifier that they didn’t take a spot from us, but having them here and having them walk away with one of the medals was really hard for me to watch.

"I don’t think that they should have been here, and there are a lot of women here that I think were very qualified to win one of those medals, and them not having that opportunity because that boat was here was very problematic for me as a competitor."

Also on rt.com ROC team to file complaint with Tokyo Olympics authorities after ‘cheater’ question aimed at tennis star Medvedev

WADA, though, has kept members of Team ROC very much under the microscope in the lead-in to the Tokyo Olympics and announced last week that they blocked the participation of any athletes whom they considered to be candidates for doping – making the members of Team ROC legitimate competitors. 

"[The Court of Arbitration for Sport] decided that [banning all Russian athletes] was going too far, this was unfair to a generation of athletes who had nothing to do with what happened in the past," WADA director general Olivier Niggli said to the Associated Press last week. 

"The vast, vast majority of the delegation that is here from Russia is made up of athletes who were not competing back in 2012, 2013, 2014."

Earlier in the week, Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev had reacted furiously when he had been asked by a journalist if athletes from his homeland carried the "stigma of cheaters" with them at the Games. 

Medvedev responded by saying the reporter should be "ashamed of himself." 

Also on rt.com No wonder Daniil Medvedev snapped at ‘cheaters’ question – some people can’t handle clean Russian athletes competing in Tokyo