LONDON, England August 1st – Chinese teenage swimming sensation Ye Shiwen said the doping row surrounding her in London had inspired her to a second Olympic gold medal with victory in the 200m medley on Tuesday.
Sixteen-year-old Ye, whose explosive win in the 400m medley in world record time last Saturday drew allegations of drug use, sealed the medley double with victory in 2min 07.57sec, a new Olympic record.
Afterwards, Ye insisted: “I don’t feel upset or sad about what the media have been saying about me.
“I feel calm, but it just encouraged me to prove myself.
“Of course, I think (the comments) are a bit unfair towards me, but I am not affected,” added Ye, who was adamant in denying doping at any stage of her short career.
“Absolutely not,” she said, when asked if she had ever taken a banned substance.
“I do two-and-a half hours (training) every morning, two-and-a-half hours every afternoon and I have trained for nine years.
“I think everyone can achieve their goal. In my mind everyone can be a genius.
“I think in other countries people have won multiple medals and no one says anything about them, so why should they say these things about me?
“There is likely to be more good (Chinese) swimmers coming behind me because others have the same potential that I have.”
Ye, the world champion, pulled away in the closing stages Tuesday to finish ahead of Australia’s Alicia Coutts and American Caitlin Leverenz.
The Chinese girl lit up the Olympics on Saturday after slicing five seconds off her personal best and taking more than a second off the world record to win gold.
But she said she didn’t get out to celebrate that win until almost 2:00am following the mandatory drugs test for all medallists.
Her stunning last 50 metres in the 400IM was faster than men’s champion Ryan Lochte, a fact that has been seized upon by sceptics who point to the litany of drug scandals which dogged Chinese swimming through the 1990s.
John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches’ Association, raised suspicions about the authenticity of her swims.
However, several pool greats pointed out Ye had never failed a drugs test and should, therefore, be regarded as a “clean” athlete.
Former British swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, a gold medallist in the 100m breaststroke in the 1988 Seoul Games, said given China’s vast population of 1.3 billion and the country’s state-backed elite sports programmes, it was possible the country’s swimming system had simply unearthed a phenomenon.
“There are a lot of people in China. The base of their pyramid is so wide — if they train thousands and thousands and thousands of kids they might have just found their Michael Phelps,” Moorhouse said.
“They might have found this really talented kid who can work really hard, whose got the perfect shape and can cope with all the pressure that’s thrown at her,” he added.
Phelps’s coach Bob Bowman became the latest to voice support for Ye, describing attacks on her as “unfair.”
“I think it is a natural cynicism that results from the history, the long history, of what has happened with China in this sport,” Bowman told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“Having said that I think it is unfair to immediately just jump on someone who has had an extraordinary swim because it is something that happens.”