Former WR Holder Li Zhesi Banned for Two Years for Positive EPO Test

  100 Braden Keith | January 29th, 2013 | International, News

17-year old Li Zhesi of China has been banned for two years for testing positive for EPO, FINA revealed today.

Zhesi tested positive for the substance in March of 2012 in an out-of-competition test conducted by Chinese Swimming and CHINADA: China’s anti-doping agency, and the positive result earned a two year suspension for both her and her coach.

This positive test was first reported by the Associated Press in June, and the ongoing deliberations caused Zhesi to be left off of China’s Olympic team. In 2009, at only 14 years old, Zhesi swam a 52.81 medley relay anchor that rolled China to a World Record in the 400 medley relay: one that stood until this year’s Olympics when the Americans broke it.

Zhesi’s coach was not specifically named, but it is not uncommon for Chinese coaches to be banned along with their athletes. In 2010, at least three Chinese coaches were banned for the actions of their athletes.

EPO is a hormone that increases the body’s production of red blood cells, and is the same substance that Lance Armstrong recently admitted to using en route to his 7 Tour de France titles.

Zhesi was ranked as the #20 100 freestyler in the world in 2011, and the second-best in a struggling Chinese sprint group. The Chinese have a long history of doping, though their aquatics athletes came through relatively cleanly in 2012; Zhesi is the first public positive test out of the country for the year, though undoubtedly it is also the most significant.

Leave a Reply

100 Comments on "Former WR Holder Li Zhesi Banned for Two Years for Positive EPO Test"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Y’all are a bunch of jerks for using this article to smear Ledecky – I bet she has been tested a ton , randomly too

Iran has a very special guillotine that cuts off the fingers of thieves.

For very bad offenders eg Lance I recommend their bus execution. They tie a noose on to the bus shelter – put the guy on top of the bus & fix it & drive off.

The joy of public transport infrastructure. Multi purpose. Tax payer effective.


You are either being serious, or “funny.” Either way, wtf?

Peeterdeeter- wtf indeed . The whole thing long jumped the shark & we can ever beat sports fraud.

Dave Berkoff
I think the point is that China is a closed society with deplorable history with respect to doping. For John Leonard to say that Ye Shiwen’s performances were suspicious is not racist but rather is quite justified based upon China’s history as a doping leader and the circumstances of her swim. She absolutely destroyed a woman who is a 4:07 400 freestyler and nearly outsplit Lochte who is a 3:49 400 freestyler. I tend to agree with John on this issue. The only way to get rid of doping, athetes who are willing to dope, and coaches who have no morals is to impose a death penalty. You get caught with EPO or steroids, you are out for life. If… Read more »
I second that. In the 80’s, the drugs where different I guess, and the chinese women had two distinctive indication of their doping (which was proved later): 1 – they were huge; 2 – their technique was way less than desirable or expected in an elite swimmer. I couldn’t get past of how the chinese looked and swam. Just seeing them on the deck, and their terrible technique instantly raised a red flag for me.. Point number two above is what strikes me the most: poor turns and walls; poor streamline; lack of pull on the breaststroke.. and the list goes on.. OF COURSE, there are some elite athletes with some terrible technique problems (a male german WR-holder – a… Read more »

There are Olympic Medalists with techniques that I did not admire at all.. Scherer looked like a psycho hitting the water compared to the fluid swimming of Popov and Borges.

I also could not be fond of Gary Hall breatj every time I can on a 50 style.. but hey.. it worked pretty well for them..

I’m clean. LoL

Big fan of the both of you!!!!

David Berkoff

Good! That’s how it should be. Lol


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

Read More »