Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Young Chinese swimmer's as good as gold

If Ye Shiwen was an American, the ticker tape parade would already have started.
If the 16-year-old was from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and not China, tears of pride would have been welling up in the eyes of folks from Poughkeepsie to Pocatello.
But Ye Shiwen is Chinese.
So her remarkable gold medal performances in both the 400 IM and the 200 IM at the 2012 Olympics in London have to be tainted, right?
Wrong, according to all of the drug tests administered.
That is good enough for me.
Chinese swimmmer Ye Shiwen captured two gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics. (AP Photo)
So let’s celebrate the amazing teenager. In Saturday’s 400 IM, Ye Shiwen blistered the final lap in 28.93 seconds, a split-second quicker than American winner Ryan Lochte.
Her overall time of 4:28.43 was more than a second quicker than the previous world record set by Australia’s Stephanie Rice at the 2008 Beijing Games. Rice was wearing a now-banned bodysuit.
If she were American, she would be appearing on Jay Leno next week, followed 24 hours later by a seat adjacent to David Letterman.
She’d shake hands with Obama, dine with Madonna and get on stage with Lady Gaga.
Instead, Ye Shiwen’s showing caused gagging among folks like John Leonard, the head of the American Swimming Coaches Association, who questioned her legitimacy.
The Guardian newspaper quoted him as saying the last 100 meters of her 400 IM "was reminiscent of some old East German swimmers."
"History in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I put quotation marks around this, 'unbelievable,' history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved," Leonard was quoted as saying.
If Leonard is shown to be correct, then I am a dope. But so far at least, he has been proven to be wrong and he is the dope. He should apologize.
Congratulations to Ye Shiwen. The 16-year-old has shown some real gold mettle.


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