By Luis Cabrera
Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen has rejected doping allegations after
her ‘incredible’ Olympic performances in recent days. The teenager from China stunned the world with a series of record-breaking swims in London that rose up suspicions of possible drug-aided performance.
On Saturday, the 16-year-old Ye smashed the world record and won the gold in
the 400-meter individual medley. She left onlookers in disbelief as her last 50 meters in the event were faster than American champion Ryan Lochte’s. Lochte won the gold the night before in the 400-meter Men’s IM.
The last leg of the event is a 100 meter freestyle swim. In the last 50 meters,
Ye clocked a time of 29.83 seconds. Lochte’s time was 29.10 seconds the day before.
Ye’s performance immediately flared doubt in the opinion of swimming experts.
The top official of the World Swimming Association, John Leonard, said the Ye
was “unbelievable” on Monday but also cautioned not to jump to conclusions. “We want to be very careful about calling it doping” said Leonard, who is also the head of the USA Swimming Coaches Association. Leonard stopped short of saying he believes there is more to it.
However, Ye denies any wrongdoing and says that all Chinese athletes are
clean. “My achievements derive from diligence and hard work,” she said, “I will never use drugs,” the young champion added.
Ye Shiwen was born in East China, in the province of Hangzhou, and has been
swimming in competitions since she was six. She began an outstanding career two years ago winning in national and international events, most notably her victories and gold medals in the 200 and 400 meter individual medley at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. She also won the gold in the 2011 World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai.
Ye earned praise from 27-year-old Ryan Lochte on Sunday. “It was impressive,”Lochte said, “She’s fast.”
Her world record is still 23 seconds slower than Lochte’s, and several other
swimmers have scored faster times than Lochte in the last 50 meters of the medley.
Ye qualified for the 200-meter individual medley with a world-record setting pace of 2:08:39 yesterday, and is competing in the finals today.