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Lilly King slams habit of not celebrating Olympic silver and bronze medals

King and teammate Annie Lazor won silver and bronze medals Friday at the Tokyo Olympics.
Swimming - Olympics: Day 1
Lilly King of Team USA looks on during day one of the Tokyo Olympics at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 24.Maddie Meyer / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Lilly King says there's more to the Olympics than winning gold medals.

After the outspoken U.S. swimmer, 24, and her teammate Annie Lazor, 26, won silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke final at the Tokyo Olympics Friday, King told reporters that she's frustrated by the predominant gold-or-bust attitude.

"Excuse my French but the fact that we’re not celebrating silver and bronze is bull----,” King said, with a laugh, during a press conference.

Silver medal winner Lilly King of the United States, left, poses with gold medal winner Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa, center, and bronze medal winner Annie Lazor, also of the United States, right, during the medal ceremony for the women’s 200-meter breaststroke final at the Tokyo Olympics.Mustafa Yalcin / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

"What is that about? You get to bring a medal home for your country," continued King, who previously won two gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and also won a bronze medal in the 100-meter earlier this week in Tokyo.

"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," the athlete added.

King and Lazor's showings marked only the seventh time in Olympic history that two Team USA swimmers won medals in the same event. (Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa won the gold medal in Friday's race, breaking a world record with a time of 2:18.95.)

Of course, King and Lazor are more than just teammates. The pair are also close pals who support each other outside of the pool.

When Lazor's father, David, died suddenly several months ago at age 61, King was there to comfort her — even if it meant she had drive five hours to see her.

"(King) was talking to my mom and she promised my mom that she was going to do everything it took to put me on the team and she was going to put me through practice every day. That just showed me what a person she is; that meant the absolute world to me and to my mom," Lazor told TODAY before Friday's race.

Lazor, whose dad was her biggest champion, added that King "still treats me like a normal human" while also realizing she's still grieving.

"She's like I'm going to pull you through this ... I'm going to help you everyday and I'm going to help you in practice, that's my role here," said the swimmer.

During Friday's press conference, Lazor, who temporarily retired from swimming five years ago after failing to qualify for the Rio games, couldn't help but celebrate winning the bronze.

“I’m just really happy to be here,” she gushed.

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