U.S. rower vents after Russians win silver medal, says they 'shouldn't even be here'

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·2-min read

Russia may not be allowed to officially take part in the Tokyo Games due to a massive state-sponsored doping scandal that made a mockery of the 2014 Olympics, but their presence is definitely being felt.

As you might imagine, some athletes aren't happy about that.

U.S. rower Megan Kalmoe emphatically showed she was among that group on Wednesday, after "Russian Olympic Committee" athletes Vasilisa Stepanova and Elena Oriabinskaia took silver in the women's pair event at Tokyo. Kalmoe lamented watching a crew "who shouldn't even be here" achieving Olympic glory, calling it a "nasty feeling."

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That tweet quickly drew a litany of replies, many of them in Russian.

Kalmoe, whose pair finished fourth in the first heat of the women's pair competition, expanded on her thoughts in an interview with row2k's Ed Hewitt:

"Well, I just posted on Twitter a couple of things that I'm sure some people will be upset about - or maybe they won't - 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."

Kalmoe's tweet came amid a disappointing showing for the American rowers, as the team failed to medal for the first time in modern history. Russia, meanwhile, added a second silver on Thursday with Hannah Prakatsen's second-place finish in the single sculls.

Kalmoe is hardly the first athlete to openly complain about Russia's contingent of athletes being allowed to complete in the Olympics after what the country did in Sochi, which was the most coordinated doping scheme in international sports history. She definitely wasn't the last, as American swimmer Ryan Murphy went even further on Friday by claiming that some Russians still aren't clean.

That was nearly true with the Russian rowing team, which pulled its quadruple sculls team shortly before the Tokyo Games after two of its members tested positive for a banned substance.

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