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
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months ago

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

taylor
3 years 9 months ago

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

Panda paddle
3 years 9 months ago

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

kobio
3 years 9 months ago

Yes, and she’s still doping.

Nathan
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

Brian
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

Great article!

3 years 9 months ago

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

kobio
3 years 9 months ago

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

MarieClaire
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

dt
3 years 9 months ago

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

arrogantprick
3 years 9 months ago

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

You’re a moron.

Gochuckster
3 years 9 months ago

liquidassets
3 years 9 months 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!!

3 years 9 months 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)

3 years 9 months ago

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

Sans Pallegrini
3 years 9 months ago

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

Sans Pallegrini
3 years 9 months ago

Oops.

liquidassets
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

Unfortunately, this.

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

I agree with you davis.

skeptic
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

saturn
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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).

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

liquidassets
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

Flowstradamus
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

Well said, Davis.

Mathew
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

Jcoach
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

They never took drug tests.

David Berkoff
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

What a disgusting comment.

Mathwood
3 years 9 months ago

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

Meridith
3 years 9 months ago

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

aswimfan
3 years 9 months ago

well yeah….. 50 free

Brian
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months ago

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

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 9 months 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
3 years 9 months 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.

3 years 8 months 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…)

Jg
3 years 9 months ago

Ok . look at it another angle. What if Ye equalled Lochte’s 55 fly or the 61 back or the 1.10 breastroke ? That would be pretty unbelievable.

Why is the free leg where Lochte is the reigning world champ any less weird? Yes there is a strong correlation between the 400im & the 200 free. Steph Rice was also the 2nd fastest swimmer in the 4 x200 free in Beijing Gold relay.

By this measure Ye ought be as good as lochte on a 400 free. Or perhaps Tom Fraser -Holmes who also closed with 58+. Tom goes /1.46/ 3.46 & is also not outstanding on any other stroke -jut puts them together like Ye. Also tom trains with the Chinese.

Not logical.

fluidg
3 years 9 months ago

Enhanced. That last 100 speaks for itself. It’s obviously off the spectrum. Wake up Davis.

SwimSkin
3 years 9 months ago

Id like to believe that this last 100 wasn’t part of some unaided substance but the facts don’t support it. Her personal best coming into the Olympics was 4:35.15 swum last year at the World Champs. She swam a PR in the prelims and then obviously the best ever 4:28.4 in the finals. The reason why I say the facts don’t support it is that if you compare her splits in London against her splits in Shanghai, they all mirror each other except that she took out the fly 1 second faster, and dropped another second in her breaststroke. In all of her previous non-Olympic swims, she closed with 1:01s. Not :58s. I am not questioning her swim because she is Chinese. I am questioning her swim because she somehow figured out since April how to drop 3+ seconds on her 100 free. And that doesn’t seem to pass the laugh test.

Vendor
3 years 9 months ago

16>15 y.o

Look, I think it’s fine that people are speculating about doping here, especially with the history and against a slightly unknown China suffering from bad rep. But this hardly seems like the “only possible explanation” like some say. Maybe they’re finally widening their search for better athletes in that 1.3 bil pop of theirs. Maybe combined with the world class training that paid too much off, that paid off. That inconsistent swim also happens pretty frequently on 400m(s), especially with talented younger competitors. Always considered better genes to be a cheat anyway.

SwimSkin
3 years 9 months ago

First, I need to correct myself. Her PR prior to the Olympics was 4:33.79 at the Asian Games in 2010. I disagree with your recommendation that maybe the Chinese widening their search for better athletes is a reason for this success. In all of her 400 IMs prior to the Olympic final, she consistently closed her last 100s with a 1:01 or 1:02. She did it when she went 4:33.79 at the 2010 Asian Games (closing with a 1:01.37), she did it at the World Championships last year in Shanghai in 2011, where she went a 4:35, and she did it at the Chinese Olympic Trials in April. Five months passed from the Chinese Trials and the Olympics and during this time, she figured out how to drop 3.7 seconds in her last leg of the 400 IM. All I am saying is that it doesn’t make sense to me.

fluidg
3 years 9 months ago

It’s all the result of hard work, Chris? So, I’m expected to believe that Lochte was out-worked by a 16 year old girl—so out-worked that she can virtually tie him on the final 100 split of a phenomenal 400IM? Yeah, that makes sense.

An enormous aerobic base? Horse shiznet. The Aussies dispensed with the high-volume approach decades ago and dominated the mile and other endurance events. Now the programs who consistently produce the fastest swimmers have evolved far beyond that old school high-volume mentality.

IM Monster
3 years 9 months ago

Anyone who is not extremely suspicious of her swim is just trying desperately to be politically correct. Anyone who knows anything about statistics knows that this is clear evidence of something amiss. Any change that far outside of the norm (not just that good of a performance, but that big of a change) is not possible. That does not happen in sports. That is the equivalent of Biesel doing her swim in 1968. It was not even a Bob Beamon-esque type of performance. And as mentioned many times, the most damming evidence is that she not only did a male split, she did a very top male split. This has never happened in the history of the sport.

xbox
3 years 9 months ago

Even if enhanced, it’s unbelievable that there’s an enhancement that can produce this result — turning an elite woman into an elite man and keeping her at 5’8, 140 lbs. That means that pound for pound, she’s by far the fastest swimmer — male or female — on the planet over that last 100 meters.

DR. EVIL
3 years 9 months ago

Or the most efficient technically….

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

You’re thinking growth enhancement. But the suspicious swims for chinese women involve endurance events (200 fly in ’08-09, and now 400 I’m) so folks are wondering about EPO or gene doping.

MathMan
3 years 9 months ago

The comment by IM Monster is exactly right. Anyone who is saying that there was not or even possibly not some sort of enhancement by the Chinese swimmer is simply stating an opinion. It is simple statistics that this type of change at the top level cannot happen. It is not opinion. Learn statistics before trying to say that a change like that is possible.

3 years 9 months ago

Statistics do not say that anything cannot happen. The most statistics can say about a given event is the likeliness of occurance.

MathMan
3 years 9 months ago

Actually Davis, you obviously are not educated in statistics. Statistics do say if something is impossible. You are stating extremely simple ideas that have nothing to do with what I am talking about. One can, and often does, use the same ideas to prove or disprove crimes. Given a large enough sample you can show that, in this case, human activity follows a specific pattern. It is NOT purely a probability. You are talking about random activity where only probabilities can be shown (but those have nothing to do with past activity). I am talking about modeling of activities.

Ph.D. Mathematics and Statistics.

Charles
3 years 9 months ago

Um…what’s your sample, how are you determining it, and how are you calculating distributions? I mean, if you use the prior dist from 2008, isn’t the probability that a swimmer can win eight golds 0? The comment you are making is absurd.

Mark
3 years 9 months ago

As someone with an actual PhD in science, I can flat out tell that you don’t have an advanced degree in math or stats, let alone a PhD. You’re just embarrassing yourself here, to support a silly argument. Davis is right, stats deal with probabilities of events. You can only say that something is ‘impossible’ if you make a judgement call on the deterministic nature of the event. A physicist may do that, not a statistician.
What’s critical is to define the process that generates the events, which we then assess through stats; otherwise your population/sample estimation is meaningless. We are talking here about peak performance in sports over time, at an international level. What stats actually show is that spikes/outliers are very common in this area. One can discuss the distribution of those spikes (i.e. of their magnitude) but deriving conclusions from such a statistic is perilous, since we’re obviously not talking about random events; progress in sports, across generations, talent pool, training systems, and so on, is hardly linear.
Beyond stats though, I think it’s simply a shame that Ye Shiwen’s performance is already publicly questioned. If you love sports, if you appreciate unique talent, you LOVED what you saw. And as Davis wrote in the article itself, until someone comes up with clear proof of any wrongdoing, I couldn’t be happier for Ye, and grateful for her performance.

MathMan
3 years 9 months ago

Hmmm… that’s really odd since I’m looking at my diplomas right now on my office wall. And funny, working in that area right now. Oh, and wait, there’s a masters in astrophysics. Have never seen a Ph.D. in science though. Just science? Hmmm…

Actually a problem in statistics applied to the real world is considered deterministic if you are modeling a range of solutions – I never suggested that one could model exactly what could happen, and in the real world one doesn’t consider that a macroscopic body such as, say, a swimmer, could pass through another macroscopic body, say, a wall, as having any probability. Ranges are not considered random. It sounds like you are living in a theoretical world. You should look into how statistics are applied in the law or in city planning, etc.

The data set is quite large, and yes, I admit that I have not studied it with any amount of detail at all, but I can tell you that at no time in the past has a female out split the top males, or even come anywhere close to out splitting the top males, at the Olympics in the 400 IM. They’ve never even been close. Taking a jump of time like that is not in the realm of possibility without something major changing in the initial variables. Drugs, genetic engineering, and bionics are the only viable options I can think of to change the initial variables in a way to allow for such a solution, and though I do not know for sure, my understanding is that only drugs are at that level of engineering right now.

3 years 9 months ago

I have to agree with Mark. There are many reasons for statistical outliers to occur in athletics and yes, drug use is one of them. The fact is, she swam the time she swam and nobody can say with certainty why she did. Until we can say with certainty, it is unsportsmanlike to ascertain that the reason was not within the rules of the sport.

saturn
3 years 9 months ago

Where did you get your PHD?!

3 years 9 months ago

Any one who believes this was a clean swim, I gotta bridge I wanna sell you in Brooklyn… I love her quote sounds just like Communist party propaganda: “I am so lucky, we have a very Scientific training program” LOL. I think she means Laboratory….

capehope
3 years 9 months ago

This is silly. “Scientific training” may involve carefully-calculated personal strategies in training, nutrition, and racing etc. and does not have to involve weird chemicals. To excel in sports(and anything) it is never less important to be physically-gifted and hard working than to understand one’s own strengths and weaknesses and know how to leverage one’s talents to the best. And training “scientifically” is far from a Chinese invention. Of course, one might think of it as “unfair” that not every athlete gets to have so many brains(coaches, nutritionists, etc.) working together on bringing about the best of him/her. Nowadays behind every great sportsman there is a great team, and in China the team is run by the nation, a nation that does not lack the resources and talents for great achievements whenever it takes the business seriously. The Chinese even use international resources, e.g., Sun Yang also trained under independent Australian coach David Cotterell. All I am saying is that “scientific training” is not the right reason to raise the “doping” suspicion. I would love to see American freedom and individualism win over and it would be all the more stunning. But isn’t it silly to say “you win because you are a communist”, or just “you win because you have a team”? Grow up.

Rick Henderson
3 years 9 months ago

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, state sponsored doping by the East Germans deprived a great many phenomenal swimmers recognition of being the best. Shirley Babashoff was branded an ugly American for questioning whether she was competing with cheaters. The Chinese have had more than one period during which their athletes were juiced. It is not racism to question a performance that is so dramatically extraordinary. When a country has a documented history of state sponsored cheating, they are always going to subject to suspicion (deservedly).

Rafael
3 years 9 months ago

US also have a Documented History of Sponsored Cheating, and a HUGE one..

Brian
3 years 9 months ago

Sorry, Rafael, if this is the coach Rick Henderson, I’ll take his analysis over yours anyday.

NMCoach
3 years 9 months ago

This was part of my post in “…Makes History in the 400 IM”…

Here’s why I think that split by Ye is out of balance…anyone that studies splits of 400IMers can notice right away that a free split within 10 seconds of the 100 Free WR is unbelievably fast. Closest male was Horihata with a 57.58. Phelps at the top of his game came home in 56.79 in 2008 which was 9.8 over the WR in the 100 Free. I can’t find Dolan’s splits from his WR swims, but I bet it was right around 10 seconds over.

For women, within 9 seconds of the 100 WR would be in the 1:01.0 range and would be similarly unbelievable. Xuanxu goes 101.58 and the rest are 102s-103s. 6 seconds over the Women’s 100 WR and within 3 sec of her personal best flat start 100? But if you aren’t familiar with the splits, then you make comments like…”just accept the fact that she has an awesome aerobic base, etc.”

IM MONSTER – You are 100% correct. And anyone that continues to compare the 400IM to the 400 Free is missing the simple fact that in the IM you are going hand to foot for your split and not foot to hand (which is much faster).

Her split would be comparable to a male split of under 52 sec…have we ever seen that?

Billy
3 years 9 months ago

The Japanese bronze medalist Kosuke Higano is 17, 5 foot 9 inches, 150 pounds and goes a 4:08.9.

Yi Shewin is 16, 5 foot 8 inches, 141 pounds and goes a 4:28.4. There is almost a 20 second difference and they are about the same age group and size.

How come no one is saying that Higano is or is not a drug user? That’s very fast for a young, not very tall and slight swimmer.

I just thought I’d throw that in there.

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

4 reasons, Billy: 1) He didn’t go 4:02. 2)His last 100 free wasn’t a 54. 3) Japan has more comprehensive drug testing and consistent reporting of times, and normal patterns of competition between Olympiads. 4)Neither Hagino nor Ye have unprecedented size,either big or small. (Think Eric Vendt)If there is doping, it isn’t in the genre of growth enhancement, it would be in physiology, such as EPO or gene doping to enhance mitochondrial size/functioning, etc.

To be fair, Ye could have been discovered to have, for one example, extremely superior mitochondrial functioning and then groomed from there, and/or could have been the product of extreme experimentation with altitude training, etc.I hope its something like that because if the rumors are true that rogue Chinese docs have perfected gene doping then we may never know, as its impossible to test for on a practical basis.

I would love to have an exercise physiologist or other sports scientist weigh in, because so far I don’t think any of us know 100 per cent what we’re talking about, obviously I don’t and it would be very interesting if there is a logical explanation we haven’t thought of yet, I hope there is!!!

rob smedley
3 years 9 months ago

He would have been branded a druggie if he won and beat Lochte. Lochte choked or is not that fast based on the 4 x 100 freestyle relay or the 200 free where he placed 4th. Wait the French must be dopers since they beat Lochte twice.

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah but Hagino wasn’t anywhere close to beating Lochte. He has had a normal progression of improvement and no freaky splits. Same with the French. Agnel improved a little more than I thought he would in the 100, but folks have been touting his as a possible gold medalist for the past 3 years in the 200, and he came through. As for Lochte, the 100 free is his 7th or 8th best event; the fact that they had to put him on the relay just shows you the lack of depth of American sprinters. USA was always picked as 2nd or 3rd in that event; would have gotten 3rd if the Aussies hadn’t choked big time. I do think he lost some confidence after that based on his comments, which may have affected his 200. We’ll see if he can bounce back for the 2Bk/2IM

lauren anderson
3 years 9 months ago

I find it unfair that instead of applauding this teen for doing the impossible they are accusing her of doping/using illegal substances. Are we teaching our children to be mediocre? It is a sad fact that you can only be a little bit better than others or people will either get jealous or question your success.

robin
3 years 9 months ago

Funny u use the word impossible urself. U should look it up in a dictionary

John
3 years 9 months ago

It’s a crazy result — She Has to be Doping. The question is, do we have the guts to do something about this.

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

I’m skeptical, but not convinced either way yet. What would you propose, John? Given that the most determined doping scientists tend to be years ahead of the testing at any given time, the only thing I can think of that would be definitively useful would be to mandate specimens being frozen or however they have them preserved like Dara Torres did, so that they could test them in the future and hand out medals decades later. 😉 (joking)

jOSH
3 years 9 months ago

SHE SHOULD BE PULLED AND TESTED – IF ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR OTHER ATHLETES IN 2012, IT IS FOR HER

3 years 9 months ago

She was tested, just like every other medalist.

RiddleMeThis
3 years 9 months ago

How was she able to knock 5 seconds off of her best time ever if she wasn’t doping?

Andrew
3 years 9 months ago

Well, other people have done that. Look at Stephanie Rice, whose world record Ye just smashed. Rice’s personal bests are:

June 2007, Italy: 4:40.79
Aug 2007, Japan: 4:37.18 (-3.61 seconds in just one month!)
Aug 2008, Australia: 4:31.46 (-5.72 seconds)

Is anyone accusing Ms Rice of doping for smashing her PB by 5 seconds? I can’t recall.

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

Well Rice’s progression appears to have been in large part her superior advantage from the techsuits, given her body type. But I agree that the total improvement in time is not that unusual or unprecedented. Even the 3 body length victory is not unusual. The only red flag was her final 50/100 splits. Though now I am reading that four other male swimmers besides Lochte beat Ye’s split, since he shut it down to conserve energy for his other 5 events. I’m open to other ideas about how she did it; it’s possible that there is some unique groundbreaking training that led to this result. But they should save samples of her blood for future testing just in case.

Bossanova
3 years 9 months ago

If the Chinese are willing to consume caterpillar fungus to win, they’re willing to do anything. Who knows maybe all that caterpillar fungus is a masking agent.

arrogantprick
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah, who knows? And because you have no knowledge of it, you might as well insinuate. Great idea!

Lex
3 years 9 months ago

I was a swimmer for 15 years. I was one of the top swimmers in the state. Not Olympic worthy by any means, but good. I remember my best times being around the age of 15/16 (I quit a year later so maybe I would have improved further, who knows). However, I improved quite gradually. After you reach maturity(ish) and if you have been swimming a long time and have your technique down, shaving more than 1 or 2 seconds off your best time in a year seems out of the ordinary. At least in my experience. We were training 20 something hours a week (nothing compared to Ye I am sure) and would be thrilled to lose even a couple tenths of a second off our time. It seems strange for a swimmer of her caliber to drop so much so fast. Did she undergo a growth spurt or something? I always envied those girls with big hands and feet ie natural flippers when looking at my size 8s and baby hands. 🙁

Adifferentview
3 years 9 months ago

If, in fact, there is no doping involved in this performance, it represents a new age when women and men are on a level competitive field. Perhaps it is time to do away with women races and mens races and just have a single race.

3 years 9 months ago

I think that there is a stretch between equalling one split and the entire race, which was separated by more than 20 seconds.

arrogantprick
3 years 9 months ago

Exactly. Looking at 1/4 or 1/8 of the race is really beyond dumb. If Lochte was to pace himself through 300M, he’d be her by 9 seconds in the last 100M.

These comparisons are F’ing stupid. BTW, Adlington must be doping to too then. Her last 50 in the 1500 was faster than Shiwen’s.

Chris
3 years 9 months ago

It’s just your usual western “we are the greatest” racism.

The vast majority of drug cheats over the last 30 years have been American. It’s much more likely that Phelps is doping.

Ye has passed every drug test Phelps has.

Tea
3 years 9 months ago

Chris –
Do you have any evidence to support your claim “the vast majority of drug cheats over the last 30 years have been American?”
Are you talking specifically about swimming? Because I can’t imagine what evidence would support that claim.

gosharks
3 years 9 months ago
Zach
3 years 9 months ago

I’m not taking a huge stance on this… but I’d just like to raise two interesting points.

The first is a comparison: Ye Shiwen’s final 100 meters of freestyle had me thinking of the same race back in 1996. Michelle Smith’s last 100 meters, in which she tore past Allison Wagner (USA) and Krisztina Egerszegi (HUN) and won the gold medal in Atlanta, was just as dominant. She obliterated her main rivals (as well as everyone else in the field) by a similar margin on the freestyle. She did not, however, split anywhere close to a 1:00.

The second point is this: it would be interesting to look at all of the 400m I.M. freestyle splits over the last couple of Olympiads and World Championships. Many IM swimmers have been fantastic freestyle swimmers. Think of Evans, Klochkova, Sandeno, Hoff, Rice… have any of them ever split below 1:01? Putting things into perspective here, Ye Shiwen did not go a 1:00 freestyle split, which would probably already have been the swiftest in history. This is not talk of her slipping under 1:00, which would have been even more momentous.

Looking back at the splits from Shanghai in 2011, not a single woman swam faster than 1:02.5 in the prelims, Ye Shiwen included. In the finals, Belmonte Garcia split 1:01.67, Shiwen at 1:01.70, and Beisel was the next fastest at 1:01.98. At Pan Pacs in 2011, not a single woman was under 1:03 on the freestyle leg. At the World Championships in Rome in 2009, even with the help of polyurethane suits, the fastest split was a 1:01.50 by Katinka Hosszu. In prelims, no female swimmer was under 1:03.

58.68. Has anyone ever been close to that kind of a split before?

Tea
3 years 9 months ago

Just realized there was a more appropriate forum for this discussion, so I’ll condense comments from an earlier section:

The Chinese women haven’t opened the door to full transparency since getting busted in the 90′s for team-wide doping. Excluding the male swimmers who train abroad, they rarely ever swim at international meets. Even for the national meets, we rarely see any coverage from international, non-state controlled media.

It seems clear to me that the Chinese are focused on racking up as many medals as possible for national pride. They are not interested in being part of an international swimming community, they are not interested in atoning for past sins, and they are not interested in other countries respect. A program that had truly turned over a new leaf would fight to regain its dignity, by tproviding atheletes’ blood samples so transparently and frequently that no one could question their integrity. China still hasn’t done this, so I remain skeptical everytime a Liu Zige or Ye Shiwen comes out of nowhere and pulls out mind-boggling swims.

As for the inevitable charges of racism…. The Koreans and Japanese and Chinese swimmers training abroad, like Sun and Wu Peng, don’t get this kind of criticism. The Chinese, particularly women, have specifically earned this suspicion because of a history of doping and a culture of secrecy.

So, I would like to advance a theory of “Ye Shiwen is Doping” with a

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I am not trying to allege any specific incidents. I do not have any inside knowledge of Chinese training methods, or even any credentials (like a degree in chemistry) that would qualify me as an “expert” on doping. I don’t want to start unsubstantiated rumors. I’m just putting this theory out on the internet with the hopes that people more educated than myself will critique this theory, fix factual errors, refine it, or hopefully prove it wrong.

THE THEORY: As I understand it, “doping” in cycling (the ultimate endurance sport) is not about easily-detected, strength-building hormones. A crude model of it is a simple, two-step process:

1. You “donate blood.”
2. On the day of your competition, you re-inject yourself with your own blood. This boosts your red blood cell count and ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Essentially, you get temporary, super-human endurance.

This is incredibly hard to detect. World-class athletes always have unnaturally high red blood cell counts, through genetics and training. A single test won’t tease it out. The only way to detect it is to compare several consecutive days of blood tests.

I believe the American cyclist Floyd Landis got busted for this on the Tour de France. On a grueling day in the Alps, he pulled out a Ye-Shiwen-closing-the-400-IM type performance; he pulled from the middle of the pack to scorching out front. Subsequent blood tests showed that his red blood cell count spiked the day that he put out that dominating performance.

This MIGHT explain Shiwen’s performance. Any thoughts on this?

21ShiJi
3 years 9 months ago

It seems clear to me that Americans are hard-pressed to respect the Chinese for anything.

Tea
3 years 9 months ago

Yes, Americans have a history of hating to lose. To anyone. Lots of countries don’t like us because we can be arrogant and condescending.

But we also have a history of extensive drug testing to weed out cheaters. Not everyone likes American swimmers, but they know they’re playing on the level. I’ll point out again that most people I know are absolutely jazzed about Sun Yang and Wu Peng.

rob smedley
3 years 9 months ago

Amy Van Dyken and Dara Torres – completely drug free?

Brian
3 years 9 months ago

Dara Torres, I say yes. Freakishly gifted with longevity, but her body eventually couldn’t take any more and now she’s done. She had to go to phenominal lengths to take care of herself day in and day out of training, more than anyone would care to do to stay in the sport.

Hell, if I wanted to stay in swimming, I’d hit the water twice a week, weight room every day, race the 50, and call it a days work. Not what she had to do.

3 years 9 months ago

That’s actually a really interesting theory Tea… I’m no expert at all but I’m interested if you get any feedback

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

Yes, that’s called blood doping, Tea, and that was one of the possibilities that crossed my mind; it’s been very common in cycling. It has the same effect as EPO but without having to take a foreign substance. I’m not convinced she’s doping yet, but I’m interested in finding out the truth and wondering if others who know about blood doping can confirm that this could be a possibility.

iwanttobelieve
3 years 9 months ago

TEA, that theory sould reasonable. an increased rbc count would help in a longer race. and that would also explain her disproportionally slow 200 free swim in the relay. if you close your 4IM in a 58.6, you should be able to close your 200 free better than a 1:00.8. btw she only went out in a 56.5 in the 2 free (that is with a relay start too)

21ShiJi
3 years 9 months ago

Do Americans have a history of being extremely bitter when bested in any way by China? Yes.

Speculate all you want. She’s currently having a blood test. Unless that comes back positive, I’m inclined to believe in her one-in-a-billion (literally) talent.

liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

It’s true, I used to really enjoy playing checkers until China came along with their pretentious Chinese checkers and ruined the party. You would be bitter too. Also, their government is slightly better than ours is at brainwashing their citizens, so that sucks too. Oh and they own most of our debt so they will be our overlords soon.

I’m not sure if Ye is doping, though its sad that history tells us we have to at least be suspicious. Don’t be naive about blood testing, most of the East German and Chinese who were found to be doping tested negative many times. And there are no tests for gene doping, blood doping, etc yet. Even EPO can be hard to detect. It sucks as a fan these days, but you have to choose between denying that doping is a possibility, and later getting disappointed, or having a degree of suspiciousness which may sometimes inhibit your enjoyment. It’s not just the Chinese, though they are a huge country so there are bound to be more cases just from that alone.

Yuwei
3 years 9 months ago

Thankyou for this post! It’s so great to finally hear someone defend Ye Shiwen and just believe in the fact that she won because she is simply exceptional. You have no idea how tired I am of hearing all the ridiculous claims and comments of bigoted brainwashed people.

Tom
3 years 9 months ago

Sigh.

If American criticism of Ye Shewin is based in racism, then how come we don’t attack other Asians who win gold? Did Americans point fingers at Park accusing him of doping when he won the gold for Korea? No. How about Kitajim of Japan winning golds and breaking world records? Nope, no accusations there, either. If American criticism is based on a irrational dislike for China, how come there isn’t much criticism of Sun Yang? Who, as explained here, trains abroad.

And the criticism isn’t just coming from Americans. From what I have heard, perhaps the most critical of all are the Germans.

If Americans are especially skeptical of Chinese women’s swimming, it’s not because of racism or ethnocentrism. It’s because the team has a proven history of doping. Look at the 1990s. Look at the Chinese junior female swimmers caught doping in 2009. Look at the 16 year old who was caught with EPO in March. Look at the fact that Chinese women swimmers live in a shroud of secrecy compared to other swimmers. Come on now.

Besides coming from this team, there are lots of other reasons to be suspicious of Ye Shewin, as are elaborated in this thread.

Your sense of racial and ethnic pride is blinding you to reality. I am so sick and tired of seeing one ethnic Chinese person after another complain and whine, as if criticism of Ye Shewin is founded on prejudice, when all the evidence suggests it is not.

Yuwei
3 years 9 months ago

Seriously, are you replying to my comment? Because I don’t really see any correlation between your response and my previous comment. Where did I accuse america of pointing fingers? Where did I claim that racism has anything to do with this whole thing? And my goodness, are you for real – my, and I quote: “racial and ethnic pride is blinding you to reality”? Or am I just simply defending my country, like any other person would do for his or her own country?

Grow up and get a grip. We chinese are not complaining or whining, we are just defending our athelete who has been wrongfully accused. Afterall, Leonard did make accusations based on absolutely no evidence. You may have your suspicions, but keep quiet about them unless you have proof!

Besides, Ye Shiwen’s test results are out. She is 100% CLEAN.

Brian
3 years 9 months ago

So were Marion Jones’ tests, up until she got caught. They are never 100% clean right off the bat. I would wait several years to make that assumption, until the technology catches up with any possible doping.

SokDis
3 years 9 months ago
liquidassets
3 years 9 months ago

The only part of that I found possibly interesting was the part about women’s weight being too heavy in Australia compared with Chinese women, and that the lower weight results in higher power to weight ratio. I don’t know all the math behind it but it seems if you can move less mass thru the water with the same or better power, you’re ahead. Not sure if that can explain everything but it seems like the beginning of the first idea on here that has tried to explain things scientifically. As I said earlier in the thread, I’d love the exercise physiologists and other scientists from various countries to take a crack at explaining this incredible swim. The part about the Chinese coaches being too strict was also interesting and maybe it’s the tension between them and the “lighter” Aussie coaches that helped. They better watch it though because in the U.S., that kind of obsession with women’s weight has resulted in burnout and eating disorders (e.g. Dara Torres). If not for that, Torres might have been something approaching a female Phelps.

Brian
3 years 9 months ago

I was a little worried about the women’s weight comment, to be honest…

Skeptical
3 years 9 months ago

You know who else has higher power-to-weight ratios? Men…

Identifying that the Chinese women have a different physiological makeup from women from other nations is exactly what you might expect to see from a systematic doping program.

Now it may all be diet and maybe there’s something there. Who knows? But testing at the Olympics has never been particularly strong. Marion Jones was not caught until she had one positive test at a meet in 2006 (In fact, her B test was negative, so she was cleared) and she had been doping since before the 2000 Olympics.

I don’t know if anybody else noticed this, but the winner of the women’s 200 Fr came back in 58.2 today. That means Ye was basically coming back at the end of a 400 IM at the same speed as the best 200 freestylers in the world. I have no doubt that Ye would win the 200 FR and 400 FR if she was competing in them and she would have a good shot at the 100 FR and 800 FR as well.

There’s only two real possibilities here: Ye Shiwen is either the best female swimmer in history – bar none – or she is doped up.

Let's get real
3 years 9 months ago

Brian, get real! No woman in the history of Olympic swimming has ever beat a male’s split. Ever…She beat. Male, a Gold medalist in the last 50 m of the 400IM! Do the math! And I’m a female, I’m all for the “women’s movement, but if something is too good to be true, then it prob. Isn’t true.
Ye is not some Phenom, she has cheated out those who have truly trained drug free from winning the gold. I truly can’t believe that the Olympic Committee and WASA are still allowing her to compete in other races!

Vendor
3 years 9 months ago

Anti-dope tests are at their strictest this Olympics, sensational fact-checking and sentiment isn’t going to disqualify anyone. And please, training is hardly the only factor in determining success at the top level, all kinds of genetic factors matter too, and not even top coaches can decide on the best kind sometimes. Sprinters went from slim with thick legs a generation ago to all round bulky powerhouses in the 90s to being slimmer again with people like Usain.

90s was a desperate try by China, they only opened up their markets recently, after all. Here they didn’t even bother sending all their athletes. Much less than the contingent they fielded last time. Any doping attempt by the state after that history seems to me to be not worth it at all. Better possibility is one by her coaches or trainers(of which her state hired from Australia and elsewhere), since she doesn’t seem resourceful enough to avoid all those doping checks herself.

Also have to question your holding up to the ideal of “athletes working hard”. Silver medalist was USA?

Mgamukhaniyo
3 years 9 months ago

I know how touchy this issue is specially to those who actually know swimming in the deepest level. But it’s also easy to blame someone just because you’re on the other side. I just hope they do the doping test immediately and properly, so that when the results come out, people will have all the reason to accuse China, or not.

Vendor
3 years 9 months ago

Honestly I don’t see how the the speculation(without any real proof) of her doping is igniting this kind of debate. If she is, she, her team and China will be the one ultimately losing out when this thing comes out. Even if by some miracle she’s not, all this controversy would have hurt them anyway. Unless you’re vested in some unattainable ideal this is just sore loser grabbing on excuses to cry out loud(started by top US coach Lennon, of course). Something like that, really

Let's get real
3 years 9 months ago

I feel bad about all the contraversy, but she beat Lotche’s time in her last April. I’m sure she is a great athlete but her last split does not correlate with her first 3 splits. It’s like she took “speed or Meth” right before those last 50 m! It would be crazy not to question that. The Chinese fired back today stating that we need to show them facts, USA’s argument is based solely on facts, comparing her times with men’s times and with her previous times. I think it will come out in 2 years that she was in fact doping but by then it will be too late bc she has robbed others swimmers of receiving a gold medal on that podium.

Let's get real
3 years 9 months ago

Oops, I meant that she beat Ryan Lotche’s time in his last 50m, and that she has shaved 7 seconds off her times since April. Oh and the Chinese just stated on the news that people are just “envious ” of her talent. It’s not that we are envious at all,I would truly be happy for her to accomplish great things at the Olympics. But the Olympics are for those athletes withgreat talent and who have to work hard to achieve that, without using endurance enhancers. It’s just really sad that the Chinese are still doing things like this BC they are a proud country. I wouldn’t be surprized if it came out that their men’s gymnastics team are using performance enhancers!

Vendor
3 years 9 months ago

Lol, great habit of complimenting your opponents before attacking them. “they’re a proud country”? And what about their men’s gymnastics team?

Whatever it is, yours and mine opinion is running on pure sentiment right now. Please admit that. I can fact-check all your blind spots as well. Truth is, there is some reason to suspect her of doping and definitely she should be tested further(by popular demand), but it’s hardly set in stone. I add to my belief in record breakers and the “large population, better talent” thing with the thinking that it is way too risky for their state to sponsor doped athletes right now. Any more local attempt by her trainers or herself also seems kind of foolish, the rewards are not that great in China right now. Maybe 10 years ago I would have agreed with you.

Nvm, should not have started on that. Could just be me trying to prove that my instinct is better than yours, like you are with that “get real” name, lmao. Regardless you are the one who won’t lose anything by asserting that she’s doping, whether or not she actually is, kinda have to balance that out.

Vendor
3 years 9 months ago

Oops, gone a little off topic there. Will check back if you need any points challenged

Landlubbers
3 years 9 months ago

She won her first gold in 400IM in Asian Games in 2010 by 4.33.79.
So, she just drop 5 second off her time in more than 20 month.
What the HELL can you say she has shaved 7 seconds off her times since April?
Since you said “April”, then of course you can tell me which game in April?
Please don’t tell me you are A LIAR!

Let's get real
3 years 9 months ago

Why didn’t “Ye” swim the 200m freestyle against Allison Schmidt? If she broke the world record and beat the men’s time in the end of the 400IM, in the last 50m freestyle, why didn’t she swim this race? Could it be that they only put her on long, endurance races, not shorter,speed races. Hmmmmm interesting.

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