Opinion: On Ye Shiwen and Doping

  183 Davis Wuolle | July 29th, 2012 | Featured, London 2012 Olympics

When I was sixteen years old, I swam my first long-course 50m breaststroke at prelims of junior nationals. It was also my first junior nationals race. I was entered in the first of many heats with no time; I had qualified for the meet with a time trial in the 100 breast. I tied another 16 year old for second and narrowly missed my senior national cut. He had swam at Pan Pacs the previous summer.

I remember vividly seeing my time, getting out of the pool and walking over to my coach, who was ecstatic. As I approached him, I overheard a passing parent say to her son: “That kid HAS to be on drugs.” My coach looked at my skinny 6’6, 165 lb frame and burst out laughing.

As funny as it seemed at the time, it really stuck with me. I realized I was getting into a sport where the unexpected is rarely expected. There aren’t a lot of major upsets in swimming. In fact, only a few have ever won a gold medal from lane eight of an Olympic final.

As soon as Ye Shiwen touched the wall, I knew that a firestorm was about to begin. Does China have a history of performance enhancing drug use among its Olympic athletes? Yes. Does the USA have a history of performance enhancing drug use among its Olympic athletes? Yes. Does China have the finances and technology to develop cutting edge performance enhancing drugs for its athletes? Yes. Does the USA? Yes. We can speculate to no end about the existence or nonexistence of these drugs, their benefits and who is using them, but it helps nobody. I don’t believe that Ye Shiwen or any other athlete should be pigeonholed because of their national representation.

People want an answer to how Ye Shiwen swam such a fast closing hundred in the 400 IM and how China has suddenly produced such success. How about her training? How about the money poured into sport in China over the last 15 years? How about the billions China has to select from, as opposed to the mere millions other countries have? It is easy to point to drugs as the answer and to force someone onto the defensive against their actions.

Until somebody unearths some evidence of illegal drug use, Ye Shiwen is just another 16 year old with a poor race strategy. And until there is some evidence of wrongdoing, I don’t believe 16 year old Ye Shiwen should have to answer to accusations that her hard work, training and dedication were the result of cheating.

Swimming has always been a sport of purity. The circumstances are as physically close to equal as possible. As such, performance enhancing drug use in swimming has always been a touchy subject. Wrongdoings in the sport have had a severely negative impact on the institutions in which we have placed our tremendous trust. But without trust, our sport cannot exist. Without the respect for our fellow athletes, the officials that govern, the coaches that educate and the fans that support, the sport of swimming cannot function. Without trust and respect, sport is not sport. We should be able to believe that the human beings that work so hard and sacrifice so much to achieve glory at the Olympics can still do amazing things. So until there is reason to believe otherwise, believe your eyes. Believe that the sport of swimming can still amaze, expect the unexpected and let Ye Shiwen enjoy her moment.

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183 Comments on "Opinion: On Ye Shiwen and Doping"


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swimm
4 years 1 month ago

Keiren Perkins won the 1500m in atlanta from lane 8… fyi

4 years 1 month ago

Thanks! One of the broadcasters cited this fact earlier today. I guess I was a fool to believe them.

taylor
4 years 1 month ago

good points, but she is doping and everybody knows it.

Panda paddle
4 years 1 month ago

Ye Shiwen swam in the 5th lane, as one of the favorites in the race

kobio
4 years 1 month ago

Yes, and she’s still doping.

Nathan
4 years 1 month ago

I don’t think it’s fair to say “she’s” doping, as it probably wasn’t an option for her. China wants to win and show the world that the chinese are better than everyone else, and they’re not going to roll the dice on that by allowing their athletes to compete honestly.

Chris
4 years 1 month ago

The vast vast vast majority of dopers, historically, have been American.
Phelps is probably doping, under your reasoning

Brian
4 years 1 month ago

Um…no. We’re talking about American swimming. Where China and Germany women have been historically associated with doping scandals. America’s testing program is extensive and highly open to observation.

rob smedley
4 years 1 month ago

I do remember Amy Van Dyken was a regular at Balco Labs. She was called before the Grand Jury. She was married to a Denver Broncos punter and was introduced to Balco by their good friend Bill “Steroids” Romanowski.

Luckily she is an American swimmer and they are above all cheating and her gold medals were not taken away like Marion Jones’ were.

Van Dyken was always calling the Chinese out on cheating. Odd since she was a Balco client.

I also believe that Dara Torres times at age 40 plus are non steroid or HGH, or EPO, or clenbuterol free.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Yeah, USA swimmers are definitely not the majority of dopers in swimming, even though track/field and baseball were a joke. China had 30+ swimmers test poz in the 90’s and the USA not even half that.

I had suspicions about AVD myself, but they were never proven. Just as Barry Bonds hasn’t tested pod despite his connections with Balco. Dara Torres comeback seemed unlikely at first until I realized how freaky her body was, like Phelps, and how much faster she could have been when younger were it not for her eating disorder. Plus she has submitted extra samples for future testing; I’d like to see Ye do that too.

Physiologist
4 years 1 month ago

All the high mindedness aside, this sounds like the nonsense pro cyclists have been spouting for years. The most logical explanation is that the Chinese are doping. Their history is damning and their closing speed is ridiculous across the board.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Are you an exercise physiciologist, and if so, what do you make of the article where the Australian coach talks about Ye having a superior power to weight ratio, compared with the Aussie women who are too heavy? Thanks.

underwater
4 years 1 month ago

Great article!

4 years 1 month ago

Thanks Underwater. I think any athlete who has been accused of doping and knows they’re clean knows how this feels.

kobio
4 years 1 month ago

She beat Ryan Lochte’s split time and he won Gold. She’s doping. Period.

MarieClaire
4 years 1 month ago

Lochte’s finishing time was 4:05.18 and Ye’s finishing time was 4:28.43. There is a 23 seconds time difference! Lochte had a comfortable lead into the freestyle leg, so he probably slowed down a bit… and Ye had to come from behind, so she probably swam her heart out on the last leg.

Arthur
4 years 1 month ago

I agree with your point but Lochte died in his 400IM. He said himself he went out too fast.

dt
4 years 1 month ago

@Kobio, you sound like you have tested her urine sample. Otherwise, how could you be so sure..

arrogantprick
4 years 1 month ago

Lochte beat her by 23 seconds. Splits are irrelevant. By that rational, Adlington has to be doping to.

You’re a moron.

Gochuckster
4 years 1 month ago

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Ye’s last 100 was 58.9; Lochte’s was 59.1. Assuming she’s not genea-doped or something, we may have just witnessed arguably the greatest women’s swim performance of all time!!

4 years 1 month ago

I agree.At least, till next time she falls in the water.

First day brought nice splits beyond Ye:
-Pereira made the fastest Breaststroke split 1.08.55 in 400IM
-Ranomi closing in 51.93
-The last 200free of Sun Yang(1.49.62)

4 years 1 month ago

58.68 for Ye Shiwen and 58.65 for Lochte in the closing 100m

Sans Pallegrini
4 years 1 month ago

Lochte’s last 100 was actually 58.65 (29.55/29.10).

Sans Pallegrini
4 years 1 month ago

Oops.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Yes when I said that Ye outsplit Lochte 58.9 to 59.1 on the last 100, actually she only outsplit him on the last 50, 28.9 to 29.1. But Lochte did that on the way to a 4:05.1 which is either a mens textile record or close to it. So yeah,Ye’s gonna raise a few eyebrows, lol!!

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

I would love to see Ye on the last 100 of a 400 free against Muffat. But Ye is not swimming the 400 free is she???

kobio
4 years 1 month ago

She’s doped out of her mind. Get real.

4 years 1 month ago

My unsolicited theory is that someone gave her a subcutaneous time release adrenaline shot an hour before the race and it didn’t kick in with its full effects until the fourth minute of the event.

jaffa
4 years 1 month ago

Ye won the 200m IM at the Asian Games in 2010 (2.09.37) and the 400m IM (4.33.79), all at age 14. At the time, she was listed at 160cm tall. Now, the official Olympic site lists her 12 cm loftier at 172cm. That sort of difference in height, length of stroke and size of hand leads to warp-speed improvement.

Ye was picked for the Chinese swimming program because of her hands. Her finger-painting brush strokes at kindergarten must have been an inch wide. Whatever it was, her teacher noticed she had hands like buckets and she was soon using them to paddle up and down the pool.

If America – a nation of 300 million – can produced a Michael Phelps and Australia an Ian Thorpe, is it really so bizarre to think China – with a population of 1.3 billion and a state sporting program run with military precision – could have found his female equivalent?

Ye swam in the heats of the 200 IM on Monday, clocking 2.08.90 to win going away. It was the same time she set in the last World Championships, when she edged Australia’s Alicia Coutts into gold. No red flags were raised on that occasion but one year later, Ye must compete under a cloud of doubt.

That time edged lower in the semi-finals on night three, when she set a new Olympic record of 2.08.39. It was all too easy.

The world record for the 200m IM is 2.06.15, set at the infamous 2009 world titles by Ariana Kukors, wearing one of the now-outlawed techsuits. The way Ye is swimming, that record won’t make it out of this week alive. And when it tumbles, expect the teenager to have to defend herself all over again rather than be celebrated as the next pin-up of the sport.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/olympics/swimming-london-2012/dont-be-too-quick-to-question-chinese-success-20120731-23b6j.html#ixzz22D2L02AM

Bossanova
4 years 1 month ago

Does China have a history of systematic state sponsored performance enhancing drug use among its Olympic athletes? Yes. Does the USA have a history of systematic state sponsored performance enhancing drug use among its Olympic athletes? No.

Brian
4 years 1 month ago

Unfortunately, this.

4 years 1 month ago

Almost everything is state-sponsored in China and almost nothing is state-sponsored in the US. I don’t think it makes much of a difference if the government is paying for an athlete’s doping through their funding or if a corporation is paying an athlete big bucks that they turn around and spend at Balco. Doping is doping. Doping is cheating. An individual can never dope on their own either. Somebody is providing them wih the drugs, somebody is manufacturing the drugs and somebody is researching the drugs.

Tom
4 years 1 month ago

I agree that doping is doping, but I think it matters whether the doping is done by order of the state, insofar as the doping is going to be much more widespread and systematic if the state is involved. In addition, if the state is involved, it tarnishes the whole nation rather than just a single individual, since the state represents the people of a nation.

arrogantprick
4 years 1 month ago

From Li Zhesi’s Wikipedia page….

“In June 2012, the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency announced Li tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO). She was dropped from the Olympic team”

Is this indicative of a country that NOW practices state sponsored doping? It is not.

aswimfan
4 years 1 month ago

I agree with you davis.

skeptic
4 years 1 month ago

I agree that the individual athlete who initiates and pays for his own doping is corrupting sport just as much as the athlete whose doping is initiated and run by a state. There are important distinctions in ethics, effectiveness, and detection however, especially for a totalitarian state.

Ethically, the individual state-sponsored doper may be less blameworthy since she may not even know what substances are being administered by government doctors at government-run training camps. This was the case for many East German athletes and may have been the case for Chinese swimmers in the 1990s.

The government of a scientifically sophisticated country obviously has far more resources with which to research and manufacture effective performance-enhancing drugs than even the richest individual athlete (or team, as in cycling). Lance Armstrong had enough money to buy whatever was on the market but couldn’t fund labs staffed by world-class scientists. He also could not run controlled experiments on scores of elite athletes to see which drugs worked best and, more important, were the hardest to detect–making athletes better is easy, staying ahead of the testing regimes is the hard part. Comparing BALCO, whose founder dropped out from Fresno City College and whose chemist had a BA from the University of New Haven, to a state whose scientists have PhDs from elite universities and build nuclear and chemical weapons is just silly.

Finally, a government willing to develop and administer PEDs is also surely willing to subvert testing procedures where possible, helping its athletes remain undetected. This includes holding back athletes from international competition when they are vulnerable to a positive test result.

It is not surprising that totalitarian countries are more willing and able to engage in state-sponsored doping. (It’s also shouldn’t be surprising that athletes in totalitarian countries are less likely to have the money and freedom of movement necessary to dope on their own.) Do you think that American athletes would take unidentified medicines in order to study their effects (do you think Barry Bonds really thought he was using flax seed oil?)? Or that a country that can’t keep its military operations secret could keep quiet the scores of people necessary for such an effort? A totalitarian country should even have an advantage in tipping off its athletes about out-of-competition tests, since it can more easily monitor outsiders’ travel within its borders. That East Germany is the outstanding example of government-sponsored doping should show that this is not a racial argument.

I don’t know anything about swimming and therefore can’t judge the specifics of this case, but given that more than 30 Chinese swimmers were caught in government-sponsored doping in the 1990s one would have to be naive to dismiss PEDs as a possible explanation for Ye’s startling improvement and her final 50 split. Alec cites China’s success in gymnastics without mentioning that some Chinese female gymnasts have been shown to be below the minimum age. A totalitarian state has a large advantage in changing birth records too.

junker23
4 years 1 month ago

The US might not have a directly state-sponsored history of doping, but it’s not like it hasn’t been left to take hold in American sports before. I’d be surprised if we don’t have a ton of dopers on our swim team, to be honest. There’s just too much at stake either way.

I don’t think there was much speculation in the US, but how much heat did Phelps get worldwide back in ’08? Feel like that’s something people definitely would’ve gotten up in arms about, similarly to how people are freaking out about Ye. (Though, I mean, it is such an other-wordly performance that it was bound to raise eyebrows. Same w/ Sun Yang’s closing speed in the 1500m.)

Skeptic
4 years 1 month ago

My points about the advantages of state-sponsored doping in totalitarian countries were not meant to imply that there isn’t lots of doping by individual athletes or teams in non-totalitarian countries such as the US. In cycling, where the athlete is basically a biomechanical motor with little room for skill differences, winning is a function of genetics, training, and pharmacology. Since cycling is a lucrative sport popular in many countries, it is unlikely that any clean cyclist is going to be enough superior in genetics and training to overcome the edge doping gives the many dirty cyclists. I therefore assume that the winner of any significant race is doping. And not only in the steroid era: riders in the Tour de France began taking amphetamines in the 1940s.

Skilled sports like boxing, soccer, and basketball offer the possibility of a clean athlete outperforming the dirty ones, though baseball suggests that if there is no testing and the sport is lucrative, most if not all of the absolute best performances are going to come from dirty athletes. Basketball may be cleaner simply because so few people meet the basic height and coordination requirements that there’s less pressure to gain an artificial edge. PED use in soccer (along with ice hockey the highest skilled team sport–there are no world-class players who didn’t start very young) also has received surprisingly little attention. Of course basketball and soccer may have rampant undetected PED use. Lionel Messi, my favorite soccer player to watch, certainly has amazing skill with the ball but I can’t help wonder if his childhood use of HGH–or continued use as an adult–is responsible for some of his ridiculous quickness. And was Tiger Wood’s dominance of an extremely high-skill sport partly the result of his Canadian HGH doctor’s treatments?

Swimming is somewhere between cycling and soccer: swimmers are machines, but technique is clearly more important than in cycling. Still, there’s no equivalent in the pool to placing a volley in an upper corner from 20 yards, something that remains a low probability event for even the most gifted athlete after a decade of practice. Against that, the genetic ideal for swimmers is fairly rare, raising the possibility that someone who possesses it (I’ve read that Michael Phelps has perfect feet and joints) could beat even dirty athletes if he trained as hard as they. Especially since a relatively small percentage of the world’s population–even in rich countries–swims enough to determine if they have talent, meaning the number of people with the best genetic traits who end up competing is relatively small compared to track (where I assume any top sprinter is juicing, with the possible exception of Usain Bolt because of his unusual combination of height and coordination) or soccer or even basketball. If China systematically evaluates its entire population for these traits that would give it an advantage, though I don’t see any evidence that their gene pool has an inherent advantage over the US’s (unlike Kenyan marathoners, for example), except perhaps in the willingness to perform the brutal training necessary to produce champion swimmers.

I guess I end up where I started: most extreme performances in swimming, particularly those that represent rapid improvement, are probably the result of drugs, and that includes Ye Shiwen’s. That she doesn’t test positive doesn’t prove she’s clean, which of course is unsatisfying. I was deeply suspicious of Dara Torres beating her 50 m free–at least on land sprinting speed goes first–record from 26 years earlier, though swimming records also capture the “improvement” in pools, starting blocks, and suits (personally, I think equipment should be frozen in all sports except those where it is used in daily life–e.g., bike or car racing and shooting–or is an intrinsic part of the sport–e.g., yachting). What do the swimmers here think? I don’t know enough to agree with Junker23 that there are “a ton of dopers on our team” but I’d be amazed if there were none. Unfortunately, as more of the world gets in the pool and trains, I would expect the percentage of winners who are dirty to increase.

Gerald Goldbach
4 years 1 month ago

I’m glad you mentioned that. The author of the article made afalse
statement about the US olympic teams and a “history” of
doping. Show the evidence…you made that up. A “journalist”
doesn’t make things up.

4 years 1 month ago

Just one example: American track athletes at the 2000 Olympics. Marion Jones and Antonio Pettigrew both admitted to using PED’s, though they never tested positive. The American team was stripped of a handful of medals. Maurice Greene admitted to buying PED’s but said he never took them.

Andrew
4 years 1 month ago

Here is the evidence:

Doping cases at the Olympics, 1968-2010:
USA: 8
China: 1

Hard to swallow, huh?

Source:
http://sportsanddrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004420#Bookmark4

arrogantprick
4 years 1 month ago

And where is your evidence that Ye is doping? Oh that’s right, you have none. Oh she’s too good. Yeah, that’s not evidence. Her “masculine” build…she looks no different than any other swimmer, in fact less masculine than the some of the American women. Have you noticed Allison Schmidt’s man jaw? If that doesn’t look like HGH, I don’t know what does.

MarieClaire
4 years 1 month ago

LOL. A gold medal is not worth as much to the Chinese government nowadays given they practically owns the US as one of our largest creditors. I doubt they care that much to dope a wide eyed 16 year old… they have other more pressing issues on hand.

Jacob
4 years 1 month ago

As a long-term resident of China and current resident in Beijing, I can assure you that China has a Major interest in gold medals. The sense of nationalism and pride that the government here created in preparation for and throughout the duration of the 2008 Olympics has developed a populace that demands excellence on the global athletic stage. As evidence, there have been endless replays of Yi Si-ting’s gold-medal performance in the air rifle competition, despite the fact that this is probably the most boring spectator sport in existence. The Chinese announcers calling the Sun Yang and Ye races invoked multiple references to ethnic and national superiority both during the heat of the race and in the commentary that followed. Long story short – the CCP is going to great lengths to convince the Chinese population that China is a world super power in multiple areas (technology, economic development, historical impact, regional cultural impact, etc.), and the Olympics is a major piece of their narrative. You can’t watch tv here for more than five minutes without seeing an update of the medal count. They care, big time, and it would not surprise me at all to learn that there was a doping scheme in place. That being said, I mostly agree with Davis that it’s extremely unfair to make allegations without evidence, but I would not put it past China.

john
4 years 1 month ago

How on earth could you call that “poor race strategy”??? Sure her splits were unusual, but it looks like her “poor” decision to conserve that much energy ended up getting her a WR.

4 years 1 month ago

Haha ok I agree. She won and broke the world record, you can’t ask for much more. However, physically you are able to swim faster with the same effort by accelerating decelerating less. I think she probably has another second in her if she swam a perfect race.

junker23
4 years 1 month ago

It’d be real tough to hold anything near that level of speed over the opening 300m. Maybe she could’ve gone faster being half a second faster over each of the first 300 meters and coming home a second slower on the free leg, sure. Would’ve been way less awesome though, so there’s that.

kobio
4 years 1 month ago

It’s all for not. She’s doped. Strategy shmategy.

saturn
4 years 1 month ago

I wish you wouldn’t say it with 100% conviction until the testing results are out. You have no idea if she is doping or not- you just hope she is.

Tom
4 years 1 month ago

“Until somebody unearths some evidence of illegal drug use, Ye Shiwen is just another 16 year old with a poor race strategy.”

Give me a break. Ye Shiwen is ANYTHING BUT another 16 year old with a poor race strategy. She is a 16 year old who just SMASHED a world record in the 400 IM. She is a 16 year old who delivered — and I dare say that swimming experts will agree with this — is the most improbable and amazing 100 Freestyle split in a 400 IM that has ever been seen. Amazing and improbably if only because it was on par with Lochte and Phelps; two of the best MALE swimmers, ever. She is a 16 year old on a women’s swimming team that has a proven history of being subjected to state sponsored doping in the 1980’s and 1990’s. She is a 16 year old that looked like she could have kept swimming for 100’s of more meters when she touched the wall after setting an Olympic record. To say that she is “Just another 16 year old” is to be laughably inaccurate.

Alec
4 years 1 month ago

I just wish we would hear more about the type of training these chinese women are doing. I will say this….from a technical standpoint she had a much better freestyle length and technique than beisel. Sun Yang I have no doubts is the greatest distance swimming talent we have ever seen, anyone who is skeptical of his final 100 of 53.50 should know that he allegedly did a set of:
30×100 on 1:30 LCM
holding 53s the whole way.
I think it is very easy for someone to make a prejudice assumption when something like this happens. What we all must realize….THERE ARE A BILLION PEOPLE IN CHINA! In other words their talent pool is 3 times as large as the US. And my belief (and this is a fact) they seek out their talented athletes. They pin point kids that have talent from a very young age and get them working toward performing at a high level. This is something we would never do in the U.S. But they do in China and it has nothing to do with PEDs and everything to do with finding the most talented athletes in their country and developing them (look at gymnastics).

4 years 1 month ago

Exactly. I would also suggest that there is far less of a draw of Chinese athletes a wide variety of sports like there is in North America. Football, basketball, soccer, baseball, etc. absorb many very talented athletes that could have potential in swimming.

drdov
4 years 1 month ago

“Ye Shiwen is ANYTHING BUT another 16 year old with a poor race strategy”
How fast can this girl go then when she grows up and has a good race strategy??
I mean…it’s scary

4 years 1 month ago

Maybe. There is a lot of pressure behind a 16 year old who has been training at a super high level for this long. I hate to say it, but burnout is very possible.

Tom
4 years 1 month ago

It is incredible to think about. At age 15, Beisel did a 4:34.24 at the Olympics. –which, by the way, was faster than the 4:35.17 that Shiwen set at the Olympic Trials this summer. At about the same age (six months older than Beisel was), Ye Shiwen has done a 4:28.46 at the Olympics. Miraculously cutting her time down from the trials by over 7 seconds. Look, this whole thing is too good to be true. How good will Shiwen be in the future? The answer depends on whether’s she’s dopped up before a race.

It is incredible. Literally, it is incredible what she has done.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Actually I think Beisel went 4:32.8 at Trials in ’08 so she only improved 1.6 seconds in 4 years. Beisels coach said that her goal time was 4:28.5 because that’s what she thought Ye would go, and she was right!!

Tom
4 years 1 month ago

True, but that was in the body-suit era, as well.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Right, I meant to point that out in contrast to Ye, but now I realize she was only 12-13 during techsuits so I don’t even know her times in a techsuit!!

aswimfan
4 years 1 month ago

And Stephanie Rice’s coach, Michael Bohl, said publicly that to win 400 IM, one has to swim at least 4:29.

And he was right.

arrogantprick
4 years 1 month ago

Shewin went 4:33 2 years ago at 14. I’m sure she trained through trials as she has no competition. Olympics is the ultimate goal for tapering.

kobio
4 years 1 month ago

It depends if her body can take all the doping or not.

Flowstradamus
4 years 1 month ago

The difference between state sponsored and state mandated seem slim to me, the difference to me is cheating by free will or cheating without choice, and there is (pretty much) no way to know what china did/does during their seemingly years long breaks from competition. Whether or not shiwen was a part of that idk and I’m too lazy and not good enough at research to look up what I’m talking about, so I’ma be just another uninformed voice on the Internet, but hey, I admit this is all speculation, but I’m thankful for my freedoms.

Robin
4 years 1 month ago

Well said, Davis.

Mathew
4 years 1 month ago

Its so sad to see no one acknowledges that she is only 16, hardly any coverage was made, everyone who is making these accusations are clealy bitter beings

kobio
4 years 1 month ago

Bitter? She beat the men’s split!! She’s doping. dolt

Jcoach
4 years 1 month ago

I really enjoyed your article from 2002 – “Mcguire and Sosa Drug Cheats? – Lay Off.” They were obviously just employing radical new training methods. After all, they never did fail a drug test.

And “poor race strategy”? Really? Have we seen a race these last 2 days with a better race strategy? I haven’t.

junker23
4 years 1 month ago

They never took drug tests.

David Berkoff
4 years 1 month ago

Macguire admitted to taking androstenedione which IS a banned performance enhancing drug. It just wasn’t then.

4 years 1 month ago

Exactly – it wasn’t banned then. No baseball player was tested for any performance enhancing drug prior to 2006.

(And specific to McGwire – he had a bottle of andro just sitting in his locker back in the late 90s, right? He’s since copped to taking some harder stuff.+

DanJohnRob
4 years 1 month ago

I think what we are seeing from China is the result of choosing athletes with the best potential for success, trained HARD, at ALTITUDE, for YEARS! They develop an amazing aerobic base. I think the same could be said about Missy Franklin; although, her training was undoubtedly more geared toward sprint racing than distance racing. US Swimming should take note and develop a program in which the members of the Jr. National Team are trained at the Olympic Training Center as often as possible. However, with regard to longevity, I agree with David Woulle that there is a huge chance that she will burn-out, whereas we should see a long, successful career from Franklin. You don’t see many Chinese swimmers lasting for 4 Olympics like Phelps.

Marcel Verhulst
4 years 1 month ago

Be careful predicting a long career for Franklin.
Look at Katie Hoff and where she is now. She was also called the female Phelps years ago.

MarieClaire
4 years 1 month ago

What a disgusting comment.

Mathwood
4 years 1 month ago

How many athletes you have seen, except 4 Phelps, lasting for 4 Olympics?

Meridith
4 years 1 month ago

Dara Torres could have swam in 7 games had she not skipped 96 and 07!

aswimfan
4 years 1 month ago

well yeah….. 50 free

Brian
4 years 1 month ago

This is a total BS article that denigrates a great performance. Like many racist things, it is very subtle. Ooh Let’s presume she is innocent until we find out she is guilty. Wink Wink. The only thing this piece accomplishes is to plant assumptions and insinuate that her accomplishments merit more scrutiny than achievements by other swimmers because she is from China. I must have missed the articles questioning the Australian relay team or Ryan Lochte.

The only firestorm that should occur is from the suggestive and screaming headline of this story. The wonderful thing about the Olympics is that it is another example that greatness can come from all parts of the globe. I am going to guess that you know what happens when you assume.

4 years 1 month ago

I don’t know if you read the actual article, but I think I was arguing the exact points that you did. I think that all great performances merit more scrutiny than weak ones, but I argued that hers does not deserve any more scrutiny because she is Chinese OR because she is 16. I don’t think either of those facts make it any more likely that she cheated, which is why I think that people shouldn’t presume that she is guilty of anything except being a fantastic athlete.

Brian
4 years 1 month ago

Then why bring it up…with that headline. When The LA Kings won the Stanley Cup, did someone in Canada feel compelled to write an article that those players should be assumed to be not using drugs until proven otherwise?

Maybe it is just the headline that is bugging me. A headline like that creates a sensational association. So for the benefit of telling people not to judge a book by its cover (do people need to be told this?), you get to reinforce a stereotype.

It is your blog so you can write what you want. I just don’t see the point of trying to make smoke while also telling reader maybe there is fire and maybe there isn’t.

That girl is an exciting young swimmer. Should make the rest of the games more fun. Irrelevant where she is from.

Tea
4 years 1 month ago

Yes it is relevant where she is from. As many of these commentators point out, China does not have a record that gives them the benefit of the doubt of playing by the same rules as everyone else.

An American swimmer of Chinese descent would not get this kind of skepticism… A swimmer of any ethnicity that trained under coaches convicted of performance enhancing drug use would (search for Canada and Russell, Colin and Sinead to see what I mean)

jaffa
4 years 1 month ago

arring Ye with the doping brush by association isn’t even close to fair. If this was an Australian athlete, we’d be mortified by the mere suggestion and celebrating the athletic vigour of our bronzed youth. It wasn’t an insinuation Rice had to deal with when she clocked her world record in 2008, which was at the time an absurdly fast result.

Earlier that year, Rice shaved a startling six seconds off her personal best time to hit 4.31.46 at the Australian trials. American Katie Hoff reclaimed the mark a few months late before Rice countered at the Beijing Games, reducing it to below 4.30 for the first time. In contrast, people seized on the fact Ye reduced her PB by five seconds to claim the new mark of 4.28.43 as genuine grounds for suspicion.

The sexiest line has been Ye’s apples-to-apples comparison with American men’s star Ryan Lochte, who humbled Michael Phelps in his gold-medal 400 IM swim on the first night of competition. The Chinese teen clocked 28.93 for her final 50m freestyle leg, compared to Lochte’s 29.10.
Ye Shiwen holds her gold medal on the podium of the women’s 400m individual medley final

Ye Shiwen holds her gold medal on the podium of the women’s 400m individual medley final Photo: AFP

Leonard told The Guardian: “No coach that I spoke to could ever recall seeing anything remotely like that in a world level competition. Where someone could out-split one of the fastest male swimmers in the world, and beat the woman ahead of her by three-and-a-half body lengths. All those things, I think, legitimately call that swim into question.”

It was a barnstormer of a swim. ‘Faster than Lochte’ headlines flashed around the world and, suddenly, a 16-year-old girl was quicker than a full-grown US superman. It’s juicy and accurate, to a point. But surgically removing one stat from a 400m swimming race and seizing upon it has warped perceptions and conclusion.

That freestyle leg was dazzling but Ye isn’t faster than Lochte. Not even close. Lochte’s winning time in the men’s 400m IM was 4.05.18, compared to Ye’s 4.28.43. That’s a difference of 23.25 seconds. And Lochte’s lead-off relay sprint for the US men’s team was 47.89, a number to which Ye couldn’t get close despite being a gun freestyler.

The manner in which the races were swum adds another layer. Lochte had the race in hand by the time he turned on the freestyle leg. His other three strokes were good enough to give him a gold-medal lead and there was no clear and present danger ranging up on either side.

Ye had to hit the burners to motor past Beisel. She turned more than a body length behind and had to push with everything she had to catch the American. By the time she did that, it must have been clear a world record was within reach and she drove it home with Black Caviar authority. In any case, four other male swimmers did beat Ye’s freestyle split.

To the wider sporting world, Ye is only now becoming a notable name. Yet to swimming diehards, she has been one of the rising stars for some years, even if her surge of form in London has caught most people by surprise. Beisel and Rice had been the favourites for gold.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/olympics/swimming-london-2012/dont-be-too-quick-to-question-chinese-success-20120731-23b6j.html#ixzz22D3Vc45T

junker23
4 years 1 month ago

Along these lines of thinking, an article that said only “YE SHIWEN IS NOT A DOPER!!” over and over and over again would deserve this same reaction.

I’m all for calling out racism (see: this comment) but I didn’t get that vibe from this article; it’s a fairly punchy defense of Ye. I do see your point in general, though – racial profiling is bad under any circumstances, so suspecting Ye is a doper simply because she’s from China is completely unfair to her. I’m sure some people believe that, but this article clearly doesn’t make such insinuations.

Her closing speed was so extraordinary that it was bound to cause these suspicions regardless of her home country. (Which would also be unfair, but it wouldn’t be racist.)

Neptune2029
4 years 1 month ago

We need to rethink training methods in the US. World record 400 IM yesterday with the most amazing finish I have ever seen. Unfortunately, she does not know how to streamline, kick off a wall, or do a breaststroke pullout, but she finish! One of the most amazing overall swims time wise and possibly best finish ever, but take the clock away and watch it and it looks like a poor swim at your local age group meet. Strangest swim I have ever seen.

Chris
4 years 1 month ago

Sorry to those who think this kid used PED’s. I am looking over this time and she didn’t “destroy” the world record. This kid had a great free leg…and perhaps her surge at the end could also be attributed to getting excited that the crowd was pushing her on.
Yeah we all know that there has been doping in the past from China, but quit crying foul. Did anyone say Phelps had used PED’s in 2008 after he lowered his OT world record “significantly”? Did anyone even suggest that Mary T used anything when she swam a world record in the 200 fly that stood basically forever? Quit speculating that this kid from China used PED’s because it doesn’t sit well with those who appreciate great swimming. Give credit where credit is due and WHEN it is due.
After watching the finals last night, the rest of the world is doing a MUCH better job of training their athletes….some who come to this country in college. But don’t blame China or any other country because they are training harder to win. It is an inevitability when a country keeps raising the bar like the USA does! As a coach I have seen championships meets where another team has had a GREAT meet and better than my kids. I could complain but hey….it is going to happen, even to the USA. The Chinese kids had a great night….AND so did the US. Enjoy it…it only happens every 4 years.

DR. EVIL
4 years 1 month ago

“China’s training regiment is built on investing in a monstrous aerobic base.” From the SwimSwam article “China’s Ye Shiwen Makes History, 400 IM Analysis”

Really….?? Everyone always wants to equate fast swimming with a big aerobic base. The other side of that equation could be that Ye Shiwen just put on a clinic on using great technique to reduce drag to swim faster. Oh…wait..isn’t that what the tech suits did?? (reduce drag) Really….??

“Did anyone notice Ye Shiwen didn’t do any pullouts during the breaststroke??

Really…?? Kept her momentum up off each wall and kept the oxygen coming in. BTW..at the last World Championships, Rebecca Soni did a similar technique (no full underwater pullout) coming off the last wall in 200 breaststroke. Really…..??

“Poor race strategy”??
Really….?? Please explain that one…I can’t wait. Really…..!!!

xbox
4 years 1 month ago

I don’t recall anyone questioning whether Lezak was doping after he anchored the 2008 Olympic relay in a similarly superhuman performance.

4 years 1 month ago

Not exactly equivalent. Sure, he swam pretty fast, but it was what, 6 tenths faster than some other guys in the same race? Ye went a bit further than that. (Closing as fast as all the men is pretty jarring.)

Rafael
4 years 1 month ago

Considering men went all out on 300m and she did not..

If she was american, i REALLY DOUBT 90% of the people here would be saying anything.

4 years 1 month ago

Did she say she didn’t go “all out” for the first 300m? Who’s to say the men did, either? That argument I don’t buy.

xbox
4 years 1 month ago

It’s not the 6/10s faster than anyone has ever swum, that’s the comparison. It’s the fact that he out of nowhere dropped 1.5 sec from his best flat start ever that’s the comparison. The point is, if she were an American, she’d be considered a phenomenon who swam out of her head.

4 years 1 month ago

I don’t think being a non-American is what’s bringing out all this venom – it’s being Chinese. As I said above, (as Junker23…this computer logs me in on facebook so I just go with it) that is unfair and racist but it’s a stereotype that people buy into. She just happens to fall on the worst place on the racial-profiling sliding-scale. If she were American she’d probably get less suspicion, non-American but non-Chinese might get a little more and a Chinese swimmer would get the most.

Myself, personally, I just assume they’re all taking something. Such an amazing swim just makes me think she got an exceptionally good batch of something.

Brian
4 years 1 month ago

Put it back in the deck…it’s not racist. Chinese athletes have a storied history of doping. Their entire team was tarred. Even recently one of their teen sprinters was caught with EPO.

When a team only shows up on the international stage every 4 years, then goes back into seclusion, it raises questions. Undoubtedly so. Why is it all Chinese? Oh wait, because it involves their National Squad.

If she were Japanese or South Korean, I would still be suspicious of the split, but no one would have any proof because they have not been found guilty of systemic doping.

4 years 1 month ago

You think I’m playing the race card? You think she’s doping because she’s Chinese. Would thinking Cullen Jones is doping because he’s black not be racist?

Ye won last year’s 200 IM at Worlds. That’s not really coming out every four years.

You said it yourself in your closing statement there – no one has any proof. You think you do, because other Chinese athletes may have doped in the past, but you don’t think South Korean or Japanese athletes have. (And why did you pick two Asian countries? This card, it seems to be falling out of this deck I’m holding…)

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Davis Wuolle

Davis Wuolle helped found and launch SwimSwam at its inception in 2012. Davis designed and developed SwimSwam.com, utilizing over nine years of web development and design experience. Davis graduated in 2013 from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada where he specialized in Materials Engineering with a focus on Product …

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