LONDON — Olympic officials defended Chinese teen swimmer Ye Shiwen against whispers of doping after she won the 400-meter individual medley Saturday in world-record time – and she made her own statement by winning another gold medal in the 200 IM Tuesday night.
The 16-year-old clocked 2:07.57 to shave 0.18 off her own mark set in Monday’s semifinal – good enough for an Olympic record and her second gold medal in London.
Ye had closed the 400 with a lap of 28.93 seconds – faster than the 29.10 American winner Ryan Lochte posted in the last 50 of the men’s race. Ye’s time was 4:28.43, more than a second faster than the previous world record set by Australia’s Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games in a now-banned bodysuit.
John Leonard, head of the American Swimming Coaches Association but not a member of the U.S. Olympic staff, was among those openly questioning Ye’s legitimacy. The Guardian newspaper quoted him as saying the last 100 of her 400 IM race “was reminiscent of some old East German swimmers.”
“We need to get real here,” the IOC’s Mark Adams said. “These are the world’s best athletes competing at the very highest level. We’ve seen all sorts of records broken already all over the place.”
Asked about Leonard’s comments, FINA president Julio Maglione told The Associated Press people are free to say “stupid things” if they want.
“It’s a big mistake,” Maglione said of Ye’s doubters. “The people that said this is crazy.”
He said FINA spends $1 million to drug-test the top 30 swimmers in the world two or three times a year and “swimming is absolutely clean.”
FELIX EXPLAINS: Allyson Felix knows full well she has a pretty pristine reputation.
She also knows that’s why there were those who were surprised she decided to not step aside and give training partner Jeneba Tarmoh a berth in the 100 meters at the Olympics after their dead heat at the U.S. trials – a choice Felix found herself defending Tuesday.
“Everyone just expected me to give up this spot, because I think lots of people ... know me and they know that I’m seen as this very nice girl,” Felix said with a chuckle.
“But it’s not just about me,” she added, explaining that she had to take into account her coach, Bobby Kersee and family members.
“It’s about Bobby and the time he invested in me. It’s about my parents and the sacrifices they made, my brother and the agents that are working with me – and just everyone who’s invested their time in me,” Felix said.
Felix and Tarmoh tied for third in the 100 at Eugene, Ore., in June, and only three women were allowed to represent the country in London.