China’s top Olympic delegate slammed media Sunday for airing “groundless” doping speculation about teenage swimmer Ye Shiwen, after a controversy that cast a shadow over her record-breaking feats.
Chef de mission Liu Peng said doping innuendo had dragged the reputation of Ye, 16, through the mud after she won both the 400m and 200m individual medleys in one of the break-out performances of the Games.
“There are individuals or media that are accusing unfoundedly our Chinese athletes. This is really unfair — it’s groundless,” Liu said. “These people should recognise reality and respect sportspersons’ dignity and reputation.”
Media chatter started after Ye’s world-record 400m medley win, including a final 50m which was faster than US winner Ryan Lochte in the men’s race. American coach John Leonard then called the swim “impossible”.
But Liu said China had made a “very, very strict effort” after several major scandals in the 1990s, observed World Anti-Doping Authority rules and had passed its own law against drugs in sport.
“Prejudice and guessing and rumors blamed our athletes. The media, they should blame themselves because they should be objective and recognise the facts, and respect the reputation of athletes,” said the official.
Ye has flatly denied doping, while her team-mate Sun Yang — who won the men’s 400m freestyle, and claimed the 1500m in world-record time — angrily leapt to her defense.
“People think China has so many gold medals because of doping and other substances, but I can tell you it is because of hard work,” he said.
“It is all down to training and hard work that we have results. Chinese are not weaker than those in other countries.”
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