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Ye Shiwen: Allegations Will Not Stop Teen from Becoming Swimming's Next Big Star

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Gold medallist Shiwen Ye of China poses on the podium during the medal ceremony in the Women's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2012

At the 2012 London Olympics, Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen is doing things that no one has done before, and she is only 16 years old.

The teenager competed in only two events during these Games, but they are considered the most grueling races in the sport. Still, she took gold in the 200- and 400-meter individual medley and set a world record in the 400-meter IM. 

Unfortunately, people in the sport are suspicious of foul play instead of discussing the accomplishments.

According to The Telegraph, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, John Leonard, brought up the concern.

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.

To swim three other splits at the rate that she did, which was quite ordinary for elite competition, and then unleash a historic anomaly, it is just not right. I have heard commentators saying 'well she is 16, and at that age amazing things happen’. Well yes, but not that amazing, I am sorry.

It seems next time she should swim slower.

Even USA Today described the race with the headline Another Gold, Another Record, More Suspicion. All this does is help tarnish the image of a great athlete. 

The Olympics are about celebrating amazing accomplishments. It would have unbelievable to think that someone could win 15 golds and 19 total Olympic medals in their career, but Michael Phelps just accomplished that feat. He has never been accused of doping.

Instead of vilifying an athlete that has done nothing wrong, fans should marvel at what she might be able to do in her career.

The individual medley showed that she is capable of mastering all four strokes. If she can add more events for the 2016 Olympics, Shiwen has a chance to start contending for Phelps' records.

Her freestyle splits indicate that should could easily add those races to her repertoire as well as some relays. 

Ye Shiwen has a chance to become the next big star in the sport. Americans are likely upset that she represents China, but that does not affect her greatness.

Fans should enjoy the chance to watch her perform on the big stage and break records, because that is what the Olympics are all about. 

 

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