30 Jul 2021, 09:17

Rylov completes backstroke double to break American streak

TOKYO, July 30, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Russian two-time world champion Evgeny Rylov scored the Olympic backstroke double Friday by winning the 200m gold medal to go with his 100m title.

He touched in a new Olympic record time of 1min 53.27sec ahead of defending champion Ryan Murphy of the United States (1:54.15) and Britain's Luke Greenbank (1:54.72).

Rylov's victory ends America's dominance in the event, which had seen them claim gold in the men's 200m backstroke at each of the last six Olympic Games.

It also adds to Rylov's own impressive collection in Tokyo, with the 24-year-old also picking up a silver medal in the men's 4x200m relay to go with his two backstroke golds.

Murphy won gold in Rio and Rylov had to settle for bronze but the pair have been on opposing trajectories since, with Murphy only breaking under 1:54 once, in 2018, while Rylov triumphed at each of the last two world championships.

Rylov came to Japan with five of the 17 fastest times in the event's history.

"I just ran into a really good guy from Russia, or the Russian Olympic Committee whatever you want to call it," said Murphy.

"Any event is hard to win back to back. The Olympics is unique in that you're getting everyone's best and that makes it more challenging.

"To come in second, obviously it's a little bit bittersweet," added Murphy. "But I think it's one of those where 10, 15 minutes from now it will sink in that having a silver medal is really cool."

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