Chinese Swimmer’s ‘Impossible’ Time Questioned, WSCA Director Suggests Possible Doping

Ye Shiwen, the Chinese swimmer with an impossible time in the women’s 400 individual medley has become the center of controversy, as she has been accused of doping.

The Telegraph reports that John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, compared Ye’s performance to Irish swimmer Michelle Smith, who was banned from swimming for four years in 1998 for tampering with a urine sample.

Saturday’s race now only featured Ye setting the first world record of the London Olympics, but she also swam the final 50m freestyle faster than American swimmer Ryan Lochte managed in the final leg of the men’s 400 IM. Leonard commented that:

“We want to be very careful about calling it doping. The one thing I will say is that history in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, ‘unbelievable’, history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved. That last 100m was reminiscent of some old East German swimmers, for people who have been around a while. It was reminiscent of 400m individual medley by a young Irish woman in Atlanta.”

The Daily Mail reports that Leonard added about the Chinese swimmer’s impossible time:

“Any time someone has looked like superwoman in the history of our sport they have later been found guilty of doping. To swim three other splits at the rate that she did, which was quite ordinary for elite competition, and then unleash a historic anomaly, it is just not right. I have heard commentators saying ‘well she is 16, and at that age amazing things happen’. Well yes, but not that amazing, I am sorry.”

Do you think that Ye Shiwen, the Chinese swimmer’s impossible time is a result of doping, or is it simply an incredibly good performance by a 16-year-old girl?