Russian drug cheat Yulia Efimova had an extraordinary tearful meltdown minutes after she finished behind fierce rival Lilly King of the USA in a dramatic 100-meter breaststroke final.
Efimova initially held her emotions in check after King beat her to the line and celebrated wildly alongside her. But after completing a round of television interviews the Russian wept uncontrollably when she saw agent Anna Mitkova across a barrier in the media interview area.
The pair embraced and Efimova sobbed hysterically for nearly five minutes and Mitkova attempted to console her.
Efimova refused to comment on her rivalry with King when questioned later, saying only: "I am sad that I could not win a gold for Russia, but I am happy to have won silver."
American rising star King had been outspoken in the leadup to the final at her displeasure that Efimova had been allowed to compete despite having previously been excluded from these Games after twice being banned for doping infractions.
Efimova served a 16-month suspension for doping from late 2013 to February 2015 and also failed a test for meldonium earlier this year (only for the result to be later overturned).
"A lot of people have said a lot of things about her," Mitkova told USA TODAY Sports. "It is not fair. She is not a criminal and she competed because she was allowed to compete."
Said Efimova: “All the stuff that happened with me was unbelievable. I am happy to be here and racing finally. That is what is best. Try to understand me if you switch your and my side.
“I have once made mistakes and been banned for six months. The second time it was not my mistake.
"For me it is very hard to swim. These few weeks have been crazy."