John Leonard on Ye Shiwen
John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, described the gold medal-winning performance of 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the women’s 400m individual medley as “unbelievable”. After reading the complete article in the Guardian, my feeling is that he hints that Shiwen simply must be doped. I just want to give my thoughts to the debate.
I am so tired of people screaming that an athlete must be doped as soon as he/she does something great. I am not saying that Shiwen isn’t doped, I have no clue if she is or not, but is really a seven seconds improvement over a year that remarkable for a teenager? Haven’t teenagers set world records before? John Leonard can’t be proven wrong. If she turns out doped it’s easy for him to glance, if not it doesn’t say she wasn’t doped and he can still stick to his claims.
Ross Tucker at The Science of Sport also questions her result, but he at least back his thoughts with some analysis.
I agree, it is really remarkable that she swam faster than Ryan Lochte the last 50 meters. But, Lochte was extremely tired in the end, and that comparison says nothing. Jonas Karlsson have great thoughts on the topic here (in Swedish).