TOKYO — With Tokyo behind her, Lilly King is eyeing the water in Paris during the 2024 Olympics.
“That’s only three years away,” she said. “That’s not long at all. I still feel like I have a lot of years left in my career.”
King brought home silver and bronze in Tokyo. Some critics expected her to return to the U.S.A. draped in gold.
“Excuse my French but the fact that we’re not celebrating silver and bronze is bull****,” she said in response to critics of the U.S. team’s performance after finishing second in the women’s 200m breaststroke to South African Tatjana Schoenmaker, who broke the world record.
King, who bagged two gold medals at the Rio Games, said U.S. sport’s winning mentality didn’t mean that only gold medals should be celebrated.
“What is that about?” she asks. “You get to bring a medal home for your country and just because we compete for the United States and maybe we have extremely high standards for this sort of thing that doesn’t excuse the fact that we haven’t been celebrating silver and bronze as much as gold.”
King said she was anything but disappointed with her silver in Tokyo.
“I might be more happy with this medal than I’ve been with any of my previous medals including my two golds in Rio. That’s simply just for the way that I’ve handled myself,” King said.
King won her bronze medal in the women’s 100m breaststroke behind teammate Lydia Jacoby, who upset the field for gold. Schoenmaker won silver in that event.
“We really should be celebrating those silver and bronzes,” she said. “Those are some of the greatest moments of an athlete’s career so why would we not be celebrating that?”