Ye Shiwen’s world-record performance Saturday in the women’s Olympic 400-metre individual medley remained a hot topic Monday, only talk seemed to be shifting away from the race itself.
After the 16-year-old Chinese athlete shaved more than one second off the world mark when she stopped the clock in four minutes 28.43 seconds, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association sounded suspicious in calling Ye’s effort “unbelievable.”
“We want to be very careful about calling it doping,” John Leonard, who doubles as executive director of the USA Swimming Coaches Association, said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper at the London Games.
“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 100 metres was reminiscent of some old East German swimmers, for people who have been around a while.”
Ye came on in the second half of Saturday’s race, eclipsing Australian Stephanie Rice’s world record time of 4:29.45 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Ye’s performance was so impressive it drew comparisons to the weekend performance of American swimmer Ryan Lochte. The two-time 400 IM world champion clocked 29.10 seconds in his last 50 metres during Saturday’s victory in the men’s race, a time bested by Ye (28.93).
Ryan Atkinson, a biomechanist with Canadian Sport Centre Pacific, cautioned fans in a Globe and Mail story to look at the entirety of both races and each swimmer’s strategy when drawing a comparison.
He pointed out Lochte went out fast, and “definitely slowed down towards the end,” Anderson said.
Ye’s dominance continued Monday when she posted the fastest time in the 200m heats, the event she ruled on home soil at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai.
Ye, who started swimming at age 6, points to hard work when discussing her success.
“I’m very lucky,” she said. “Training is not very hard for me because I’ve been trained since childhood. We have a very good scientific-based training. That’s why we’re so good.”
Between 1990 and 2000, Chinese swimmers failed 40 drug tests.
In June, Li Zhesi, one of Ye’s former teammates, tested positive for the blood-boosting agent EPO.
No Match For Norway
Josh Binstock from Canadadives for a ball during the Beach Volleyball match against Norway at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. Canada
Men's Eight Rowing Make The Finals
Canada's men's eight rowing team members Gabriel Bergen, right to left, Douglas Csima, Rob Gibson, Conlin McCabe, Malcolm Howard, Andrew Byrnes, Jeremiah Brown, Will Crothers, and cox Brian Price catch their breath after placing second in the repechage and earning themselves a spot in the Olympic finals at Eton Dorney at the 2012 Summer Olympics in Dorney, England on Monday, July 30, 2012.
Eye On The Prize
Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak returns a shot from New Zealand's Marina Erakovic during her first round tennis match at the 2012 Summer Olympics Monday, July 30, 2012 in at the All England Club in Wimbledon.
Don't Rain On His Parade
Canada's Milos Raonic returns a shot during his first round tennis match against Japan's Tasuma Ito at the 2012 Summer Olympics Monday, July 30, 2012 in at the All England Club in Wimbledon. Raonic won in straight sets to advance to the next round.
A Feat Of Strength
Annie Moniqui of Canada competes during the women's 58-kg weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London.
Hawley Bennett-Awad, of Canada, and her horse Gin and Juice, compete in the equestrian eventing dressage competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. Bennett-Awad was sent to the hospital after falling off her horse while equestrian eventing.
Gold For China...No Doubt About It
Chinese gymnasts, left to right, Feng Zhe, Guo Weiyang, Chen Yibing, Zhang Chenglong and Zou Kai celebrate winning the gold medal during the Artistic Gymnastic men's team final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London.
Foot(ball) In Mouth Disease
South Korea's Kim Bok-yung, right, battles for the ball against Switzerland's Michel Morganella during their group B men's soccer match between South Korea and Switzerland at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, in Coventry, England, Sunday, July 29, 2012. Morganella was booted from the Olympics after posting a racist tweet regarding the South Korean soccer team.
Gold Medal For Ruta Meilutyte
Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte reacts after winning gold in the women's 100-meter breaststroke swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Two Medals With One Event
United States' Matthew Grevers, left, and United States' Nick Thoman congratulate each other following the men's 100-meter backstroke swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012. Grevers won gold, and Thoman silver. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
France Upsets The U.S.
France's Yannick Agnel reacts to his gold medal win in the men's 200-meter freestyle swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012.
Kim Un Guk of North Korea breaks the Olympic record with a lift of 153kg in the snatch during the men's 62-kg weightlifting competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London.
Canada's Shona Thorburn (6) shoots as Great Britain's Kim Butler (11) and Johannah Leedham (13) defend during the first half of a preliminary women's basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Settling For Silver
Japanese gymnasts, left to right, Yusuke Tanaka, Kohei Uchimura, Koji Yamamuro, Ryohei Kato and Kazuhito Tanaka raise their bouquets during the medal ceremony of Artistic Gymnastic men's team final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 30, 2012, in London. After judges spent about five minutes reviewing three-time world champion Uchimura on the pommel horse, his score was revised and Japan was awarded the silver medal with Britain getting bumped down to bronze.
On To The Finals For Phelps
United States' Michael Phelps reacts after finishing first in the men's 200-meter butterfly swimming semifinal at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza)