CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING NON-AMERICAN SWIMMING PHENOM YE SHIWEN
July 30 2012
London, U.K. – The Olympics are, more than they are about athletics or nationhood, about stories. Every athlete in the Games has a story, a tale of triumph against adversity or of simply fulfilling the expectations everyone has had of them for years. Every Games has those stories and a few of them stand out.
Usually the stories that stand out belong to Americans. Owing in large part to the influence the United States has over the rest of the world and the strange affection and obsession even enemies seem to have for the nation, the stories of their athletes tend to be the most compelling, or at least the most repeated.
Because of that, when a story, a remarkable one, comes along that has nothing to do with the United States there is scepticism about its veracity, about its authenticity, something which has already happened three day into the London Games. This time the controversy surrounds Ye Shiwen, a 16-year-old female swimmer who won Gold in the 400 metre Individual Medley on Saturday in dominating fashion. So dominant was Ye that she nearly matched the score set by American male Ryan Lochte, a feat that of course could only have been achieved by cheating, unless of course she had been American and then it just would have been a great story.
“We were all talking about that at dinner last night. It was pretty impressive. And it was a female. She's fast. If she was there with me, I don't know, she might have beat me,” said Lochte who was pretty darned convinced that no human on the planet could have beaten him, particularly not a girl.
Shiwen broke her own personal best by five seconds in the race and won, over an American it should be noted, by three seconds.
Chinese officials have not commented on the controversy but are presumably happy Ye was not aborted before she had a chance to swim.
“The time she put up really is kind of crazy and so it makes sense that people would be all worked up about it but just because she excelled it doesn’t mean that she was a cheater, that she is a cheater. The truth is if the American had set that time, or possibly even a Brit or French woman, there would be no controversy. If it was an American there would probably already have been a parade in her honour,” said Scrape TV Sports analyst Mark Marvins. “The Chinese aren’t the most popular team here because they win a lot, and they tend to take those medals away from Americans so of course there is going to be controversy but sometimes these things do happen, and happen clean.”
Ye, like all members of the Chinese team, has been tested for drugs and come out clean.
“There was a time when the Chinese cheated like crazy but everyone did at that time. Now they want it clean, they genuinely want to show the world up and the way to do that is without drugs. These kids spend their entire lives, literally their entire lives, training and they should be accused of cheating because they had success,” continued Marvins. “Besides, what else do they have to look forward to? After all of this, with all the gold medals and world records they will set, they still have to go home to China. That is punishment worse than anything the doping agency could ever dole out so let them have their moments because it’s all they will ever have.”
Elizabeth Beisel, the American who came in second, swears the water from Ye’s lane felt like it had dope coming from it, something which could not be independently confirmed.
Alexi Orton, Sports Correspondent