Published: 12:41 BST, 12 August 2016 | Updated: 00:08 BST, 13 August 2016
She has faced stern criticism for being allowed to compete in the Olympics despite facing two convictions for doping.
Now Yulia Efimova, who has won two silver medals in the 100m breast stroke and in the 200m breaststroke, has revealed how the taunts of competitors and critics simply make her angry - and that she wants her enemies to apologise.
In an interview in Russia she said: 'The truth is coming out little by little. I strongly hope that in the near future many would understand who was right and who was wrong. I would very much want to hear apologies from some people.'
The 24-year-old was only allowed to compete in Rio following a last ditch appeal after she tested positive earlier this year for the now-banned substance Meldonium - the drug also taken by tennis star Maria Sharapova.
In the weeks leading up to the Olympics controversial Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova posted a series of revealing pictures on her Instagram feed
The 24-year-old swimmer donned a bikini and relaxed on the beach before the games despite her participation hanging in the balance due to doping convictions
The 24-year-old was only allowed to compete in Rio following a last gasp appeal after she tested positive earlier this year for the now-banned substance Meldonium
Her relaxed attitude to the Games seemed to work after she claimed a silver medal in the women's 100m breaststroke, despite biting criticism of her doping convictions from Michael Phelps
But Efimova has fought back against her most outspoken critic American Lilly King, asking 'what would she say about Michael Phelps?' at a press conference.
Efimova was alluding to past allegations against Phelps in relation to drugs and alcohol. The champion swimmer was once photographed appearing to smoke marijuana from a bong, and was arrested for driving under the influence in 2014.
TEAM GB GIRL IN 'CLEAN OLYMPICS' COMMENT
Great Britain's Chloe Tutton appeared to criticise Yulia Efimova's presence in Rio after the Russian finished ahead of her in the 200m breaststroke.
Efimova, who was allowed to compete after appealing against a doping ban, took silver with Tutton fourth.
'I would've preferred it to have been a completely clean Games,' the 20-year-old Welsh swimmer said afterwards.
'I couldn't help who was here. I'm not happy with it, but that's how it is.'
While Phelps was suspended by USA Swimming for both incidents, he has not previously tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
‘Of course I’m not for doping and I’ve never used it on purpose,’ she added.
‘But I know there have been very many occasions where people do it because they don’t know or because they’re stupid or naïve.
‘There always should be another chance. When you are driving a car and break a rule, you get only a ticket. You don’t lose your licence for life or get put in jail.’
Efimova's Instagram feed shows her in a series of stunning images in the run-up to the Games, showing the athlete posing on the beaches of Miami and El Porto in California, displaying her swimmers' body to her 44,000 followers. She also posted a video of herself wearing a cropped top revealing the word 'Champ' with the caption 'Stay positive'.
And her apparently relaxed frame of mind seemed to work after she claimed a silver medal in the women's 100m breaststroke, despite biting criticism of her doping convictions from her rival Lilly King, who won gold, and US superstar Michael Phelps, who demanded a life ban for those found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
But Efimova has fought back against her most outspoken critic American Lilly King, asking 'what would she say about Michael Phelps?' (pictured centre)
Yulia Efimova, who won silver in the womens' 100m breaststroke, has served a 16-month ban for doping but was cleared to compete at Rio at the last minute
A visibly upset Efimova fought back against her critics and said: 'I don't really understand the foreign competitors. All athletes should be above politics, but they just watch TV and believe everything they read'
Efimova tested positive for DHEA in 2013, a banned steroid hormone considered an anabolic agent by the World Anti-Doping Agency. She served a 16-month ban for the substance. Earlier this year she tested positive for meldonium.
Her rival, American swimmer King has made no secret of her disapproval of Efimova, both in interviews and body language.
At an awkward news conference alongside the Russian after the 200m breaststroke, the 19-year-old King said: 'I do think it is a victory for clean sport and just to show that you can do it while... competing clean your whole life.'
However, Efimova remained defiant.
And in an interview published in Russia she added: 'I don't care about them [the taunts from the stands]. Quite the contrary, when people shout nasty things it only makes me angry.
'To those who say that I shouldn't have been at Rio or those who don't like seeing me here I want to say: I was allowed to compete by CAS. I won the case. If anyone if dissatisfied with it, or think that his or her truth weighs more that the CAS's decision, you're welcome to go there and sort it with them.
'I made a mistake once. But there are plenty of cases like this in the world. I was cleared for the second time. And a week before the start, I won the court.'
'I don't really understand the foreign competitors. All athletes should be above politics, but they just watch TV and believe everything they read' - a clear reference to her ban and the fall-out from it.
'I'm really happy, because what has happened to me is unbelievable. I made a mistake once, and I served the punishment. What happened the second time wasn't my fault. I don't know if I should explain in front of everyone'.
'There are those who understand me, these are the people who know me at least a little bit.
'Those who trained with me. It's hurting me when politics start to change us.
'I'd like my competitors especially to show at least a drop of sympathy and understanding of my situation.'
A total of 271 Russian athletes were cleared to take part in the Rio Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose not to hand Russia a blanket ban from the Olympic Games.
Russia's Yulia Efimova in tears after the women's 100m breaststroke final - her rival Lilly King made it clear she didn't think the Russian should be competing in the Rio Games after the world champion served a 16-month steroid ban
Lilly King (centre), second placed Yulia Efimova (right) and third placed Katie Meili (left) display their medals after the women's 100m breaststroke amid booing directed at the Russian
After her 100m silver, the Kremlin waded into the row by lavishing praise on Efimova.
Vladimir Putin's deputy Dmitry Medvedev issued a personal message to the swimmer.
'I am congratulating you with your silver medal,' he told her.
'In the final breaststroke swim, you showed your real sports personality, will to win, and ability to fight till the very last seconds.
'You proved that you deserve high Olympic awards to the whole world.'
This was echoed by Vitaly Mutko, close Putin ally and minister of sport in the Kremlin government.
'Yulia is simply brilliant,' said this senior official who was lambasted by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, head of an independent investigation on behalf of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) into 'state-sponsored doping' spearheaded by Mutko's ministry.
Swimming legend Michael Phelps joined the row over athletes who have used drugs being allowed to compete, and said 'it breaks my heart', adding: 'I believe sport should be clean.'
He backed the tough stance taken by Australian gold medalist Mack Horton against drug cheats saying they shouldn't be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics.
Efimova even got a comfort hug from a reporter after the race after she placed second in the 100m breaststroke
War of words: Lilly King parades the American flag as second place Efimova forces a smile
The 19-time gold medalist Phelps said: 'Sport should be on an even playing field, and I think that it's sad that in sports today we have people who are testing positive not only once but twice and still having the opportunity to swim at this Games.'
However, the Russian media attacked Efimova's critics with King being accused of behaving in a 'rude manner.'
Sovetsky Sport wrote: 'Straight after the final, she claimed that she's very happy to beat Efimova and that she's sure she made it because of being a clean athlete.
'That is, she won't be caught on doping on the contrast with others.
'After the ceremony, King broke all the rules of politeness by refusing to congratulate Efimova on her silver. She simply ignored her.
'It is possible to remember a bunch of examples - for example, the same American breaststroke specialist Jessica Hardy who did a term for doping but returned to big sport.
19-time gold medalist Michael Phelps says drug cheats shouldn't be allowed back into sport after doping rows clouded the opening days of the Rio Olympics
'Interesting, did Lilly treat her older peer with the same disrespect?'
While former gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, now an MP in the Russian parliament, said: 'The public booed her? They can do whatever they want, but if an athlete is the best, they go and win medals for their country despite all the odds.
'And people who boo are not quite adequate. Yulia won a medal for Russia and it doesn't matter that the American didn't congratulate her.
'Our great, huge country does - and is very happy for her. We will continue winning medals - because we will never do such a thing.
'We're above what's happening around sport now. It does us honour, we are proud.
'Yes, it's hurting and disappointing that not all the athletes could make it to the Olympics.
'I hope they will still be protected legally. It is now necessary to support those who are about to win medals.
'We're having a great start - a lot of medals already.
'It is necessary to keep going forwards without being bothered if someone greeted (our competitor) or someone didn't.'