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Russia's Yulia Efimova, caught up in doping scandal, booed in Olympics debut


Yulia Efimova prepares for a head in the women's 100-meter breaststroke on Sunday. (Michael Kappeler / EPA)
Yulia Efimova prepares for a head in the women's 100-meter breaststroke on Sunday. (Michael Kappeler / EPA)
An unfamiliar sound echoed through the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Sunday.
Boos greeted Russia’s Yulia Efimova during her preliminary heat of the 100-meter breaststroke, after a confusing two-week odyssey in which she was barred from the Olympics then quietly reinstated.
Last month, the International Swimming Federation announced Efimova’s Olympic ban as part of Russia’s doping scandal. She was one of seven Russian swimmers barred from the Games who had either failed doping tests or were named in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation into state-sponsored doping.
Efimova, 24, previously served a 16-month suspension for doping and earlier this year failed a test for meldonium, a banned substance, though the result was overturned.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said after recording the second-fastest preliminary time. “It was crazy the last year and a half. I didn’t understand what was going on. I’m just happy to be here and ready to race.”
Efimova declined to answer further questions.
She has trained with the USC-based Trojan Swim Club. Same with Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, who are among the once-banned Russians who have been added to Olympic start lists without explanation.
American Lilly King, a first-time Olympian, recorded the top preliminary time in the event. The final is Monday.

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