South African breaststroker Cameron van der Burgh has admitted to cheating as he beat Australian Christian Sprenger to a gold medal at the London Olympics, saying he couldn't afford not to because almost everyone does it.
Van der Burgh has come under scrutiny after underwater footage shows him performing three 'dolphin kicks' at the start of the race as he won the 100m breaststroke final and broke Australian Brenton Rickard's world record in the process.
Under FINA rules, each swimmer is allowed only one kick.
But van der Burgh said a lack of underwater technology to police the rules meant swimmers knew they could get away with it and he accused Australian veteran Rickard of doing the exact same thing in the final.
"I think it's pretty funny of the Australians to complain because in the underwater footage if you actually look at Brenton Rickard in the lane next to me, he's doing the exact same thing as me yet they're turning a blind eye," van der Burgh said on Friday morning.
"It's got to the sort of point where if you're not doing it you're falling behind or your giving yourself a disadvantage."
Van der Burgh said he had experienced the same thing at last year's world championships in Shanghai where he was third in the 50m breaststroke behind Brazilian Felipe Frana Silva.
"It's not obviously, shall we say, the moral thing to do but I'm not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it and has proven to get a way with it like they did last year," van der Burgh said.
Sprenger was delighted to have claimed silver in Sunday's final and has not weighed in on the issue.
Van der Burgh, 24, said he fully supported the introduction of video technology to police the rule, saying it had worked well when trialled in the past.
"I think it was two years ago in Stockholm at the World Cup that they did do it and it was really awesome, nobody attempted it and it was the first time they used it," van der Burgh said.
"Everybody came up clean and we all had piece of mind that nobody was going to try it.
"I'm really for it, if they can bring it in, it will better the sport but I'm not willing to lose to someone that is doing it that's proven that has done it to me before."
Rickard had earlier addressed the media and stressed the Australians were not carrying on about the issue.
He did not want to weigh in to whether or not van der Burgh had cheated and also called for the introduction of video technology.
"If that rule was in place, everyone would be much more straight down the line and that's ultimately what we want ... to have a sport with integrity where it is very hard to cheat and people I guess need to avoid cheating because sooner or later they will get caught and cost themselves dearly," Rickard said.
Sprenger clocked a personal best 58.93 seconds as van der Burgh clocked 58.46 to improve upon Rickard's previous world record of 58.58, set at the 2009 world championships.
Rickard was sixth in the final.
A dolphin kick, where both feet are used together, gives extra power at the start of the race.
The issue surrounding them first arose at the 2004 Olympics in Athens where cameras showed Japan's Kosuke Kitajima using the technique in winning the 100m breaststroke.
Officials claimed the kicks were not visible from above the surface of the water, so the result stood.
In 2005 FINA changed the rules to allow one dolphin kick at the start and at each turn.
Multiple swimmers were seen using illegal dolphin kicks at last year's world championships in Shanghai but FINA opted not to introduce underwater technology in London.
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