‘Extremely Frustrating’ and ‘Disappointing:’ Lilly King, Other Americans Share Displeasure at Chinese Doping Controversies (VIDEO)


‘Extremely Frustrating’ and ‘Disappointing:’ Lilly King, Other Americans Share Displeasure at Chinese Doping Controversies

When news first emerged that 23 Chinese swimmers had tested positive for trimetazidine months before the Tokyo Olympics but received no sanction, American swimmers were ticked off — and rightfully so. The lack of a sanction had directly cost the U.S. multiple gold medals, including in the women’s 200 butterfly with Zhang Yufei finishing ahead of Regan Smith and the women’s 800 freestyle relay with multiple swimmers racing after positive tests.

Then, in the hours before the U.S. Olympic Trials kicked off in Indianapolis, more news emerged regarding anti-doping violations from China, this time that a world-record holder (Qin Haiyang) plus two Olympic champions (Wang Shun and Yang Junxuan) had tested positive for clenbuterol years before.

The explanation of food contamination for the test results in early 2021? The argument from the World Anti-Doping Agency that the newly-revealed Chinese positives were at too small a concentration to matter? None of that mattered to the figures in American swimming who met with the media Friday evening at Lucas Oil Stadium. Simply the notion that Chinese swimmers were repeatedly caught up in these controversies was reason to doubt the country’s entire anti-doping apparatus.

Good timing that Lilly King was already scheduled to speak at the press conference: King has never been afraid to share her mind on controversial issues, including the infamous finger wag directed at Russia’s Yuliya Efimova at the 2016 Olympics.

“It’s extremely frustrating for the athletes to always have in the back of our mind that maybe this sport’s not fair,” King said. “You know, when we put everything on the line, our privacy, really, everything that we do to compete with a level playing field, it’s extremely frustrating to not have faith that others are doing the same thing.”

King referenced the requirement from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that top athletes disclose their whereabouts at all times so they can be called upon for drug testing. Additionally, USADA has a track record of publicly disclosing all irregular test results regardless of circumstance, a far cry from the Chinese pattern of covering up results that the country’s anti-doping agency is able to explain

“It’s just really disappointing, and I think it’s just frustrating for all the athletes that, you know, do go through the process of dealing with,” 2016 Olympic medalist Cody Miller said. “They show up at my house when I’m trying to put my kids to bed and trying to feed them dinner, and I have to go stand in the restroom with a stranger and pee in a cup.

“This happens, like this is commonplace for the United States that has USADA, an actual doping agency. It’s just frustrating, yeah.”

us olympic trials

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Rowdy Gaines and Elizabeth Beisel, both multi-time medalists for the United States in the past (Gaines in 1984, Beisel in 2012) and now commentators for NBC Sports, expressed their sorrow at the situation which has dominated headlines in the sport in recent months and again this week. Gaines compared the situation to that of Shirley Babashoff at the 76 Olympics, when Babashoff accused her East German rivals of doping, only to be proven correct years later.

“She was called Surly Shirley and everybody was making fun of her and didn’t believe her,” Gaines said. “That’s a heavy-duty accusation. And I’m not prepared to say that [about the Chinese swimmers] because I just don’t know. I’m disappointed, I think, in the process, and I can certainly feel for the athletes. I think the only thing that can hurt our sport is the anti-doping effort.”

Beisel, meanwhile, communicated sympathy for the swimmers competing to represent their country on the highest level this summer. “The foundation to fair sport is having faith in your anti-doping agencies,” she said. “And that has been shaken over the past few months, decades; it’s always been shaken.”

Still, several of the press conference attendees shared optimism — or perhaps naivete — about the future of efforts to ensure clean sport. USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey proclaimed confidence in the current leadership at World Aquatics in promoting compliance with such regulations while Gaines shared a belief that he hoped above almost anything else to be true.

“I really do believe that the vast majority of athletes around the world are clean,” Gaines said. “I don’t think this is a situation where it’s just rampant across the world.”

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11 days ago

Why doesn’t she mention the Australian doper going to the Olympics?

11 days ago
Reply to  Bazola

Diffetence is that she is an individual who was rightly exposed. Faced the publicity, approbation and negative media exposure plus the justifiable bans!
None of which occurred concerning the Chinese Dictatorships propaganda drive for ‘Victory through Spor’.
We’ve seen it for decades from firstly Communist GDR/Soviet Block, then autocratic Gangster Dictator Putin in Russia to now The Chinese regime since the 90’s.
WADA appears to be corrupted and coerced by the money given to them. They are beholden to these systemic drug cheating nations!

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