After Rio disaster, Morozov shines in Singapore
Morozov bounces back from Rio disaster to lay claim to World Cup title
The Olympic Games and their corresponding Movement are more than just about winning medals and setting records.
It embodies values such as respect, friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Russian swimmer Vladimir Morozov once believed in all those ideals. But not any more, after what he went through the last few months.
In the lead-up to the 2016 Rio Games in August, the 24-year-old, who emigrated to the United States 10 years ago, was named by Fina as one of the swimmers identified by the World Anti-Doping Agency as having benefited from a Russian state-sponsored doping programme.
Morozov was initially banned from competing at the Games, but was later cleared by the International Olympic Committee to compete.
Still, the sprinter and his teammates were roundly booed during competition in the Brazilian city, which affected his performance.
"The Olympics were pretty much a disaster for me," said Morozov, who failed to progress past the semi-finals of the men's 50m and 100m freestyle events in Rio.
"It was definitely hard. I was very stressed, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't train for two weeks before the Olympics."
"There were no facts and no proof (behind the allegations). I know I am the victim in this whole thing," added the Russian, who took bronze in the men's 4x100m free relay in London 2012.
"My view of the sport has definitely changed after what I had to go through... you can say that it crushed a lot of ideals I had since my childhood."
Despite his travails, the thought of giving up the sport has never crossed his mind, and competing in the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup Series this week has allowed him to bounce back from the disappointment of Rio.
With six legs gone, Morozov came into the seventh leg in Singapore at the top of the men's standings with 436 points, ahead of South African Chad le Clos (387).
The Russian won the men's 100m freestyle last night at the OCBC Aquatic Centre in 45.92sec, as well as the 100m individual medley in 50.70, and was part of the Russian team that won the mixed 4x50m medley relay.
"I am getting closer to my goal of being the first Russian to win the overall World Cup title," said Morozov, who also finished second in the 50m breast (26.85) last night.
"Chad is a great competitor; he is a fiery South African guy and I am a cool-as-ice guy from Siberia, so we have got something special here."
Beyond the World Cup, Morozov is aiming to make a splash at the short-course world championships in December, as well as the long-course worlds in Hungary next year.
"I haven't shown my true potential in long-course swimming, and now I am deciding whether to take a break after the short-course worlds or to train through to Budapest.
"But, yes, I definitely have enough fire in me to go to the next Olympics, and maybe even the next one after that."
Meanwhile, Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu won four events yesterday - the women's 200m free, 100m fly, 200m IM and 200m back - and finished second in the women's 50m back.
Also, Australia's Kyle Chalmers set a new world junior record of 46.61sec when he finished second to Morozov in the 100m free.
However, Jamaica's Alia Atkinson missed out on setting a new world record when she won the 100m breast in 1min 2.40sec.
She shares the current world record of 1:02.36 with Ruta Meilutyte.
- Women's 100m free: Katinka Hosszu, Jeanette Ottesen, Amanda Lim (Sin)
- Women's 50m breast: Alia Atkinson, Roanne Ho (Sin), Yulia Efimova
- Men's 100m breast: Roland Schoeman, Vladimir Morozov
- Men's 100m fly: Daiya Seto, Chad le Clos, Josh Prenot
- Women's 100m back: Katinka Hosszu, Emily Seebohm
Tickets for Day 2 of the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016 presented by Yakult are still available at the OCBC Aquatic Centre ticket box office and online at Sports Hub here: http://www.sportshub.com.sg/sportshubtix/Pages/FINA-World-Cup-2016.aspx