31/07/2012 § Leave a comment
Eyebrows are being raised about Chinese 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen’s gold in the 400 IM on the weekend. From the National Post’s Bruce Arthur:
The cynicism turned to open doubt Monday. Her world-record 400-metre individual medley gold on Saturday was astounding — she trailed two swimmers going into the freestyle, and then unleashed a monster final 100 metres, including a final 50-metre freestyle split that was faster than the gold medal-winning equivalent by Ryan Lochte in the men’s race. She smashed the race record set in the fast swimsuits used in Beijing by over a second. And Monday, the longtime executive director of the USA Swimming Coaches Association, John Leonard, said aloud to The Guardian newspaper what everyone else was thinking.
“We want to be very careful about calling it doping,” Leonard told the newspaper. “The one thing I will say is that history in our sport will tell you that every time we see something — and I will put quotation marks around this — ‘unbelievable’, history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved. That last 100 metres was reminiscent of some old East German swimmers, for people who have been around a while. It was reminiscent of the 400-metre individual medley by a young Irish woman [Michelle Smith] in Atlanta.
Of course, the East Germans and Michelle Smith were found to be cheating. (You get the sense from the rest of Arthur’s column that he’d much rather be able to focus on the achievements of the likes of teenagers Missy Franklin and Ruta Meilutyte.)
The IOC has responded, saying that Ye passed a drugs test after her victory on Saturday and that athletes achieving such remarkable feats should be applauded, not made subject to suspicion.
**The San Francisco Chronicle argues today that the Olympics has ‘cemented Twitter’s role as both a global living room and a global water cooler that draws citizens of all sorts – from the athletes themselves to armchair judges at home – to participate in a communal discussion about the world as it happens.’
So seriously, get tweeting!
***And despite the complaints of Twitter users, who are way ahead of the NBC broadcasts, the American broadcaster is seeing record numbers for its nightly, tape-delayed coverage. Tens of millions of viewers would suggest their strategy is working, no?
****The New Zealand Herald’s Dylan Cleaver writes today that off the field of play, organizers continue to look lost.
There was a chance to take in the latest incarnation of the USA’s “Dream Team” against a strong France side that included San Antonio Spurs’ superstar point guard Tony Parker. What sports lover would turn down the opportunity?
This was no basketball arena, however – more like Dante’s seventh circle.
For reasons known only to the Olympic organising committee, the attractiveness of this match-up seemed to escape venue chiefs. It was hopelessly over-subscribed and ill-prepared for the influx of worldwide media expecting a seat.
Hordes of angry, mainly French journalists stormed the gangways. They were no match for one slight but feisty Englishwoman blocking access to the stairs while screeching “battre en retraite”, or something like that.
Some of the more determined journos were guided to the controversial and seemingly eternally unoccupied Olympic Family seating. Unfortunately, the guests of Omega showed appalling timing, appearing en masse early in the second quarter.
That’s a bunch of unhappiness. Money talks? Seems so.
*****Which Olympic athlete might you be? BBC Sport thinks they know…check out their very cool “Olympic athlete body match” app.