Aurelie Muller's attempt to dunk Rachele Bruni on the line was the reason for her disqualification in the 10 kilometre open water swim, the latter has revealed.
Bruni and Muller were battling for silver in the Atlantic Ocean off Copacabana beach after Sharon van Rouwendaal had claimed the Olympic title.
As the pair reached the board that competitors must touch to finish the race, a scuffle emerged before Muller appeared to pip her rival.
However, the Frenchwoman was subsequently disqualified for dunking her opponent, handing Bruni the silver and Brazil's Poliana Okimoto the bronze.
"We were side by side then when we were coming close to the touch, she went over me, pushed me down with her arm on my shoulder and so I wasn't able to touch the finishing board," Bruni told a media conference.
"Yes, the disqualification was justified because it's not in the rules that she should be able to do that.
"It's a beautiful medal and one that I have been looking for throughout a lot of my career."
Meanwhile, new Olympic champion Van Rouwendaal was pleased to avoid any trouble as she secured victory by 17 seconds.
"I don't like the touching so that's why I go a little bit outside to not get contact," she said.
"I don't want that contact. In the race I was always on the right and I had my space. Today, I chose to swim a little bit on the side because I was so easy with swimming. I really don't like the contact so that's why I try to swim away.
"I'm really a pool person but I like the 10k as well."