A Splash of Cynicism and Suspicion

The absurdity of some aspects of the so-called “games”… more about that in a later blog… leaves me just shaking my head. The most recent example is the assumption of doping and subsequent verification of clean performance for the Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen after her record-breaking swim last weekend.

Now help me with this. The best athletes in the world… talented, practised, intensively coached by experts, performing at their peak of perfection… are expected to meet if not break existing world records. This goal has been at the center of their lives  for many years.

When they do succeed, though, they are accused of cheating, of taking some new wonder drug, of performing illegally and under the influence of doping. This is insulting to the athlete and insulting to the Olympic ideals, but it demonstrates the cynicism and suspicion that surrounds competition in this “winner-take-all” circus!

Although the swimmer’s father accepted that it was “normal for people to be suspicious”, he added: “The western media has always been arrogant, and suspicious of Chinese people.”

Ye Shiwen’s world-record performance Saturday in the women’s Olympic 400-metre individual medley remained a hot topic Monday, only talk seemed to be shifting away from the race itself.

After the 16-year-old Chinese athlete shaved more than one second off the world mark when she stopped the clock in four minutes 28.43 seconds, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association sounded suspicious in calling Ye’s effort “unbelievable.”

“We want to be very careful about calling it doping,” John Leonard, who doubles as executive director of the USA Swimming Coaches Association, said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper at the London Games.

“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. from The Huffington Post

China's Ye Shiwen poses with her gold medal for the women's 400-metre individual medley swimming final. Officials have declared her drug-free and condemned suggestions the 16-year-old is cheating.

Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen is “clean” and passed her doping tests, the head of the British Olympic Association says.

At a news conference in London, Lord Colin Moynihan said the 16-year-old world record-setter “deserves recognition for her talent,” the BBC reported Tuesday morning. from The Hamilton Spectator

While I was reading about Ye Shiwen’s victory this morning in a leading newspaper, there was an invitation to participate in a poll on Facebook. The question was “Do you believe Ye Shiwen was doping?” How stupid is that! What possible use can come of polling about a matter of fact?

I am reminded of the story about the children in a nursery school “show and tell” session viewing a pet rabbit. “Is it a boy bunny, or a girl bunny?” one child asked. A little voice called out, “Let’s take a vote!”

I am so glad that Ye Shiwen was shown to have a clean win. Good for her, and shame on the people who tried to cast doubt on her victory and to add insult to injury by voting ignorantly on the outcome.

Here are more articles from The Guardian.

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