Earlier this week, 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen blew everyone away when she set a world record in the women's 400-meter individual medley and then again in the 200-meter women's individual medley on Tuesday. Although Shiwen has won multiple medals—for example, she took the gold in the 200-meter IM in the 2010 Chinese National Games, as well as the bronze in the 400-meter IM, and she also won the gold medal for the 200-meter IM in the 2011 World Aquatics Championships—she wasn't considered a top contender going into the London games.
Immediately after setting a world record in her first event, top American coach and director of the World Swimming Association John Leonard said there was something "disturbing" about her results. He told the press, "We want to be very careful about calling it doping, but history in our sport tell us that very often when something is 'unbelieveable' and I put quotes around that, history tells us doping ends up being involved."
Leonard cited China's use of doping in swimming competitions past, as well as the fact that in her last 50 meters of the 400-meter IM, Shiwen swam faster than Ryan Lochte in the same event as reasons to regard her wins as suspicious. Shiwen also shaved five seconds off her personal best time, a feat Leonard says is almost impossible.
On the other hand, multiple Olympic officials have come to her defense saying she has never tested positive for drugs, and that Shiwen was tested again after both her wins and all tests came back negative. Additionally, even though Shiwen's last 50 meters were better than Lochte's, her overall time was still 23 seconds slower than him, meaning that if she had raced against all the men, she would have come in dead last. Further, Lochte's last 50 meters were actually slower than at least four of his competitor's (including Michael Phelps), even though he won the gold. So the comparison that Shiwen actually outswam Lochte isn't entirely accurate.
Ultimately, as of yet, there's no irrefutable proof that she cheated. What do you think? Do you think Ye Shiwen was doping or do you think she won fair and square?
For more information on Ye Shiwen, the Olympics, and China's history of doping, watch the video report released by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.