Team USA took another hit on Tuesday after the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Evgeny Rylov defeated defending Olympic champ Ryan Murphy in the men’s 100 meter-backstroke, ending the U.S.’ streak of 12 straight golds in the last six Olympics.
Rylov took the gold after finishing in 51.98 seconds while teammate Kliment Kolesnikov won silver just 0.2 seconds later.
WITH SIMONE BILES OUT, RUSSIANS TAKE OLYMPIC GOLD OVER US IN GYMNASTICS TEAM FINAL
Murphy, who took home the gold in Rio in 2016, finished third with a time of 52.19. This was the first time Team USA has not taken the gold in the men’s 100-meter backstroke since the 1992 Barcelona Games.
“Winning an Olympic gold means you’re the best in the world. Being third in the world is no slouch,” Murphy said after the race, according to USA Today. “That’s the fastest backstroke heat ever. To be a part of that, that was my best swim of the year. So it’s nice to be able to do that in a pressure-packed Olympic final.”
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The Americans did, however, win gold on Tuesday when 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby won the women’s 100-meter breaststroke with a time of one minute 4.95 seconds.
“I was definitely racing for a medal. I knew I had it in me,” Jacoby said. “I wasn’t really expecting a gold medal, so when I looked up and saw the scoreboard it was insane.”
Murphy will have the chance to compete for gold again in Wednesday’s 200-meter backstroke but he’s not letting Tuesday’s loss deter him. He knows what he’s up against.
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“The Olympics is a pressure-cooker. … The reason I love the Olympics is you know you’re getting everyone’s best. I love the idea of that. I don’t really feel like you get that in any other competition.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.