PHOENIX, Arizona, September 4. SWIMMING World CEO Brent Rutemiller writes “Right or Wrong, Doping Questions about Ye Shiwen Need to Be Asked ” in the latest Voice for the Sport, which appears in the September 2012 issue of Swimming World Magazine. The column is reprinted in full below. Read Now For $3.95.
The arguments surrounding Ye Shiwen's doping allegations are influenced by two things: Ye's “unbelievable” 100 freestyle split on her way to an Olympic gold medal and world record in the 400 meter IM (4:28.43)…and China's history of using performance-enhancing drugs.
In London, her 58.68 split for the final 100 meters was the fastest ever recorded by any woman in that event. Her last 50 was 28.93. No other world-class female athlete in that race split faster than 30.7 on the final lap–except her teammate, Li Xuanxu, who came home in 29.77 to capture the bronze medal.
John Leonard, the executive director for the American Swim Coaches Association, took note of the split and said, “The one thing I will say about our sport is that every time we see something 'unbelievable,' history eventually shows us that doping was involved.
“Many substances and methods that were later selected to be added to the banned list of substances and methods were initially used by athletes long before they were banned–steroids, amphetamines and EPO and HGH all among them. It is entirely possible that Chinese medical practitioners are onto something new that cannot at this time be considered 'doping.' ”
China has a long history of drug issues. More than 40 Chinese swimmers tested positive for steroids in the 1990s. It was all brought to light in 1998 when Australian customs in Sydney discovered human growth hormone (HGH) in the baggage of swimmer Yuan Yuan. Six days later at the World Championships in Perth, tests showed the presence of a banned diuretic masking agent called triamterene in the urine samples of four Chinese female swimmers.
In June of this year, China removed a 16-year-old swimmer from its team for having erythropoietin (EPO) in her system. EPO enhances both VO2 max (one's ability to intake oxygen) and helps the back half of a swimmer's race.
Despite allegations, Ye passed both the doping and gender tests as required by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC president believes there was no foul play. Without proof, then, Leonard's suspicions are unactionable.
Supporters of Ye maintain that it all can be explained. At 14, she won gold medals at the 2010 Asian Games in both IMs (2:09.37 and 4:33.79). She finished second in the two events at the 2010 Short Course World Championships. She also won the 200 IM (2:08.90) at the 2011 Long Course World Champs.
Nobody complained when a 15-year-old Tracy Caulkins improved her best time by nearly eight seconds in the 400 IM and walked away with a world record and World Championships gold medal. Nobody accused Mary T. Meagher in 1979, when she swam the 200 meter butterfly in a world record 2:08.41, swimming faster than nearly half the male competitors at the time.
Where was the outrage when Janet Evans smashed the 800 free world record in 1987 by two seconds and proceeded to lower it the next two years by another six seconds?
That Ye's time progressions are on par with some of the American greats is what makes the doping allegations so hard to accept. However, the fact that no other female swimmers are able to match the final splits of the Chinese women in that 400 IM is hard to dismiss.
Video preview of September issue
TABLE OF CONTENTS
8 2012 London Olympics: As Good as it Gets by John Lohn
13 On the Verge of a Dynasty by Jeff Commings
The Baylor School girls won their third national high school title in the last four years.
18 By the Slimmest of Margins by Jason Marsteller
The Bolles School boys won their second national high school team title in the last three years by a half point ahead of New Trier.
22 Nutrition Choices of the Stars by Jeff Commings
This is the third of a three-part series on nutrition choices by some of swimming's elite athletes. This month's focus: nutrition post-workout.
24 Dryside Training: “Tri” It, You'll Like It by J.R. Rosania
27 Q&A with Coach Phillip Davis by Michael J. Stott
31 How They Train: Mark Rubin by Michael J. Stott
32 American Relay by Judy Jacob
33 TYR Age Group Swimmer of the Month
6 A Voice for the Sport
35 For the Record
37 NISCA All-America
46 Parting Shot
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