Posted On Thursday, August 02, 2012 at 08:46:34 AM
|China’s Ye Shiwen competes in the women’s 200-meter individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Centre on Tuesday
Two finals, two golds. And all anybody wants to know about Chinese teen swimming sensation Ye Shiwen is whether she’s doping. After shattering the world record in the 400 individual medley on the opening day of the pool competition at the London Games, the 16-yearold broke her own Olympic record to take the 200 IM title Tuesday.
Ye flashed smiles toward the crowd and sang her national anthem, then walked into a packed and hostile press conference where she faced one question after another over whether she is taking performance- enhancing drugs. Ye is smaller than most swimmers at her level but has never failed a drug test, and Olympic organizers spent much of the day defending her, saying the suspicions were “crazy” and motivated by jealousy.
“Of course, I think this is a little bit unfair for me, but I was not affected by that,” Ye said in comments translated from Mandarin. Asked directly whether she had ever doped, she said: “Absolutely not.”
She added that she has trained 2 1/2 hours every morning and 2 1/2 hours each afternoon for nine years. It has paid off in London. In Saturday’s 400, Ye sliced through the last lap in 28.93 seconds — a split-second faster than American winner Ryan Lochte posted in the last 50 of the men’s race.
Her overall time was 4:28.43, more than a second quicker than the previous world record set by Australia’s Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games in a nowbanned bodysuit. Her latest victory wasn’t so emphatic. Still, she became the first Chinese swimmer with two Olympic golds.
Ye was only third at the final turn, then surged ahead in the last lap of freestyle, her best stroke. She clocked 2 minutes, 7.57 seconds, shaving 0.18 off her Olympic record set in Monday’s semifinal. She was far off the world record set by American Ariana Kukors at the 2009 worlds — the height of the high-tech bodysuit era.
Alicia Coutts of Australia wasn’t too far behind to take silver in 2:08.15, and Caitlin Leverenz of the United States finished in 2:08.95 to take bronze. Defending champion Rice of Australia was fourth. “I never really expected to swim that fast,” Ye said. “I was surprised. I was really nervous. I thought, ‘I cannot lose. Freestyle is my best stroke.”
China media furious
Chinese officials have reacted angrily to doping accusations swirling around their newest swimming superstar Ye Shiwen, who has won two gold medals at the London Olympics.
The accusations grew after the 16-year-old Ye won the women's 400-meter individual medley, and Ye also won Tuesday's 200- meter IM race. In Saturday's 400, Ye swam the last lap in 28.93 seconds — a split-second faster than American winner Ryan Lochte posted in the last 50 of the men’s race.
The state-run Global Times fired back, saying questions about Ye’s feats were unfair. “The West still judges China with an old mentality, and is petty about the progress China makes,” the newspaper said.
► Of course, I think this is a little bit unfair for me, but I was not affected by that
- Ye Shiwen