Against the Olympic spirit

Updated: 2012-08-08 08:14:03

( China Daily)

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Not only Chinese double gold medal-winning swimmer Ye Shiwen, but also every sports fan who believes in the Olympic spirit that transcends nationality, race, color and politics deserves the apology rendered by Nature magazine on Monday.

That's because the doubts cast upon 16-year-old Ye's integrity by some Western media outlets, foreign coaches and the article on Nature's website is anything but reasonable.

Ye is not the only one to come up with incredible feats at the London Olympics. For example, 15-year-old US swimmer Katie Ledecky won the gold in women's 800 meter freestyle by beating defending Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain and 2008 bronze medalist Lotte Friis of Denmark. Another American teenager, Missy Franklin, 17, broke the world record in women's 200 meter backstroke.

They all outperformed themselves. But none of their feats was questioned. There were no insinuations of drug use, which was reserved for Ye after she won the 400 meter individual medley and then went on to clinch the 200 meter medley, events that she has excelled in since last year.

John Leonard, executive director of World Swimming Coaches Association, described Ye's feat as "disturbing". He said Ye's swim was either "the greatest swim in history" or "something that is not correct", implying she had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Nature went even further, describing Ye's world record-breaking feat in the 400 meter individual medley as "anomalous" and gave the impression that testing negative for drugs did not rule out the possibility of Ye taking performance-enhancing drugs.

If Ye's extraordinary feat is what the doubters have based their arguments on, then why did they point a finger only at the Chinese swimmer and not at the other outstanding athletes? Is it simply because Ye is a Chinese? Does it have anything to do with the China phobia deeply rooted in the Western mindset?

Westerners think they are physically superior to people from the East, Chinese in particular. That's why they refuse to accept a Chinese swimmer performing such a feat. But such notions run contrary to the Olympic spirit.

In the Olympic arena, the efforts of every athlete to test himself or herself to the limit deserve respect. Accusing any athlete who performs extraordinarily of wrongdoing without sound evidence is an affront to the fundamental spirit and principle of sports.

(China Daily 08/08/2012 page8)

Medal Count

1 46 29 29
2 38 27 22
3 29 17 19
4 24 25 33
5 13 8 7
6 11 19 14

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