July 30, 2012

"Any time someone has looked like superwoman in the history of our sport they have later been found guilty of doping."

John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, saying that Ye "looks like superwoman."
Leonard rejected comparisons to Michael Phelps, who broke the 200m butterfly world record when he was just 15, back in 2001. "Phelps got consistently faster every year on a normal improvement curve. There has never been anything that you look at in any of Mr Phelps' swims that you look at and say 'well, that's impossible, that can't be done.'... [A] woman does not out-swim the fastest man in the world in the back quarter of a 400m IM that is otherwise quite ordinary. It just doesn't happen."

45 comments:

Dose of Sanity said...

How about we show some olympic spirit and not fling accusations after witnessing something remarkable?

If she later fails the repeated doping tests they are currently performing on her, well, then we can properly award medals.

Until then, all we say is: Congrats. What an accomplishment. Nice race.

AndyN said...

I didn't even have to see her times or hear the complaints start the next day. When I saw the way she finished that race, the first thing that crossed my mind was doping, particularly considering former Chinese Olympic doctors have openly admitted to doping their athletes.

holdfast said...

Sorry Dose, but it's hard to even believe the tests - it's a technology race, and the ChiComs (and others) have a not more money and motivation than the IOC.

We know the ChiComs will do anything to win, including exploiting children and forging birth certificates.

wyo sis said...

From recent history I'd say checking for doping IS the Olympic spirit. Athletes who compete fairly deserve to know that others are as well.

Marshal said...

"We want to be very careful about calling it doping," Leonard said. "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 100m was reminiscent of some old East German swimmers, for people who have been around a while. It was reminiscent of 400m individual medley by a young Irish woman in Atlanta."

Usually when you say you want to be careful about calling it doping, you're being careful not to call it doping. So either he used this phrase in a new way or I'd have to conclude his effort was an epic fail.

john said...

Because pissing and moaning (and acting like a baby) IS the olympic spirit.

Icepick said...

How about we show some olympic spirit and not fling accusations after witnessing something remarkable?

That's great, if you aren't the person getting screwed. How many swimmers got screwed out of their just rewards because the East Germans were doping their female swimmers into males?

And China has a pretty extensive history of doping their swimmers. A CBS Sports story from 2003 stated "Over 40 Chinese swimmers since 1990 have failed drug tests. That's triple the amount of any other swimming country during the same period of time." There have been more failures since then.

Which is all to say, there are plenty of reasons beyond sour grapes to question the result.

campy said...

Easily credible. Everyone knows women are better than men at everything.

Lem said...

As rh would put it...

Are they going to hit her on the head and take her stuff?

prairie wind said...

Incredibles!

C'mon...I wasn't the only one, was I?

Curious George said...

She better have the same clean urine hook-up as Ryan Braun...

damikesc said...

How about we show some olympic spirit and not fling accusations after witnessing something remarkable?

She was faster in the last 50m than Lochte --- who ran the second fastest race in history. She was FAR outside of her pace up to that point in the race. Her overall time improved by about 7 seconds from her best.

No, it doesn't seem terribly likely.

lemondog said...

Maybe Ryan Lochte swum like a girl.

Calls for an arm wrestling contest 'ween Ye Shiwen and Ryan Lochte

leslyn said...

Awwww. Poor Mr. Leonard. Like so many before him who said, "It can't be done--not by a woman," he may very well find himself wrong.

Wrong
Wrong
Wrong
Wrong
Wrong....

rhhardin said...

The Chinese women's chess team is the same way.

bagoh20 said...

Nations with overbearing centralized governments that routinely censor, jail and murder their people for simply expressing disagreement with the government, should not be expected to play games fairly. Would you give your cat a hamster to play with?

China, and any other nation with their history of cheating should not be invited. They do it as a clear calculation that's it's worth it. If we want them to stop, we should make it not worth it.

Lem said...

She better have the same clean urine hook-up as Ryan Braun...

Braun would not trade places with her for all the pea in China.

Alex said...

Define "woman", does she have ovaries?

Lem said...

They do it as a clear calculation that's it's worth it. If we want them to stop, we should make it not worth it.

A Penn State death penalty.

I'm with you bags.. unfortunately the people in charge over there are no NCAA.

You know this could be an opportunity for Armstrong to leverage this.. if the girl comes out clean.. and thats a big IF.

leslyn said...

BTW, why are only "superwomen" guilty of doping, and not "supermen." (I know he made a distinction about Michael Phelps.) But how many "superwomen" have there been in the sport; how many "supermen"; and how many of each guilty of doping?

Or maybe there are no "supermen"-- just "great" men.

Shanna said...

Awwww. Poor Mr. Leonard. Like so many before him who said, "It can't be done--not by a woman," he may very well find himself wrong.

Leslyn, did you actually watch it? The american girl (I think) had her in the dust on breast stroke and then she got ridiculously ahead on freestyle. I didnt' think of doping immediately, but it makes a ton of sense.

Shanna said...

BTW, why are only "superwomen" guilty of doping, and not "supermen."

Many men have been guilty of doping, what he said is that Michael Phelps had a normal athletic progression, getting faster over time.

I know nothing about the chinese woman, but her final 100m was damn fast, and hearing that it was faster than the men does make me think it had to be cheating. Olympic athletes do not usually win by that much because everybody else is so good.

leslyn said...

We'll just have to wait to find out, won't we?

In the meantime, I see a lot of presumptions.

Suspicions based on an unusual event--those can be reasonable suspicions and justify looking further.

But there are presumptions in the statement that "all superwomen" are guilty of doping.

Leland said...

how many "supermen";

There is the US men who ran the 1600m relay in the 2000 Syndey Olympics. They won gold. Of the 4 runners, 2 have admitted to doping during the time, with one already been levied a lifetime ban from competing. That's just one example, but it happens to men too.

WineSlob said...

She Swam in Pursuit of the Scam
Another Sham to Slam Uncle Sam
Her Time Made a Ripple
And She Grew a Third Nipple
Hey Man, She's a Total Blam-Blam.

Aridog said...

Bagoh20 asked ...

Would you give your cat a hamster to play with?

Thread winner !!

Michael said...

Leslyn. You are clearly not a follower of doping in sports. You also appear to believe that women can beat men at anything if they try and train hard enough. Observe the times of male and female marathoners, for example. Or better yet why dont we eliminate this false distinction entirely and let males and females compete directly. I think wyomn would be so very sad. But they wold be "equal"

leslyn said...

Michael said...
"Leslyn. You are clearly not a follower of doping in sports. You also appear to believe that women can beat men at anything if they try and train hard enough."

Michael--your extended presumptions are wrong.

Here is the logical fallacy:

"All women who do unusually and unexpectedly well in swimming are superwomen.

"All superwomen are guilty of doping.

"Therefore all women who do unusally and unexpectedly well in swimming are guilty of doping."

It's a series of presumptions stated as fact, which degrades individual accomplishment. One is either doping--or just had a good day.

I'm not making any comparison to men--except perhaps by implication; I'm still wondering if the same logical presumptions would be applied to men. Michael Phelps was brought up as a reason to distinguish a male swimmer from the female swimmer. But has Michael Phelps never had an unsually and unexpectedly good performance?

paul a'barge said...

"Ch"ina and "Ch"eat both start with "Ch".

L.N. Smithee said...

Hats off to you, Ann, for having the guts to post this.

As a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants, I used to defend all-time HR leader Barry Bonds from accusations of steroid use by noting that he hadn't tested dirty, and that allegations that his head had grown larger over a span of a few seasons were speculative and silly.

Eventually, after uberjuicer Jose Canseco was dumped from his last MLB team a bitter, broken, and broke man, he spilled the beans, opening floodgates that implicated nearly every ballplayer from the era whose appearance, performance, and production had become otherworldly overnight. This included All-Star baseball players Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, and Ken Caminiti (all winners of their league's Most Valuable Player award while they were cheating), and national hero Mark McGwire (the first of three players to break the 61 HR mark in a season). But a Federal investigation also proves that among the professional cheaters were putative amateurs: Olympic gold medalist sprinter Marion Jones and her boyfriend, "World's Fastest Human" Tim Montgomery. They, like Bonds & Giambi, were clients of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative ("BALCO"), ground zero for the test-cheating methodology.

Oh, another thing: What finally put the nail in the coffin for any respect I had for Bonds was the sworn testimony of Giants' clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, who has held the job of providing and maintaining players' equipment since the team came West from New York in 1958. He admitted that indeed, he needed to get Bonds larger shoes and a larger helmet after the seasons Barry started working with BALCO. Rumors confirmed.

For those of us who remember the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, every time "bionic man" Steve Austin would perform feats of strength, speed, or vision that made him seem like he was Superman, he would deadpan some semi-plausible explanation that couldn't be disproved because he couldn't reveal he was half-android. That's what the explanation of coaches of such athletes sounds like to me. And after so many scandals over the decades, they don't have the benefit of the doubt.

David said...

Lovely.

Think Ralph Boston.

Keep in mind that women swimmers today are posting times that are better men's world records of a few decades ago.

"Just shut up" is my advice to this guy.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

1972 Olympics Mark Spitz male WR 100 meter free (long course): 51.22,

2009 World Championships female WR Britta Steffen 100 meter free (long course): 52.07

So I exaggerated the progression of female times a bit, but they routinely swim about as fast as men did 40 years ago.

Johnny Weismuller's best time in the 100 free was 57.4 in 1924, then a world record.

Bryan C said...

"Like so many before him who said, "It can't be done--not by a woman," he may very well find himself wrong."

He didn't say it couldn't be done by a woman. Obviously she did it. But did she do it within the rules of conduct permitted by the Olympics?

I don't know if these are useful rules anymore, anyway. If we allow a runner with artificial spring-powered legs then why not a swimmer with steroid-enhanced musculature?

Michael said...

Leslyn. The coach's suspicion arises from the odd split times, not from the "presumption." you posit Therefore the first premise in your "logical fallacy" argument is wrong. You have misread the article or taken as a premise something that was not.

As to parity in tossing out dopers you have only to look to cycling where extraordinary performances have very often been proven to be enhanced. Vinikourov's famous mountain stage comes to mind.

SPImmortal said...

We'll just have to wait to find out, won't we?

In the meantime, I see a lot of presumptions.

Suspicions based on an unusual event--those can be reasonable suspicions and justify looking further.

But there are presumptions in the statement that "all superwomen" are guilty of doping.

--------

I don't think you really understand the level of difference between men and women when it comes to their ability to faciliate growth of explosive fast twitch muscle that is used in these kinds of races.

After all, anabolic steroids are really nothing more than synthetic testosterone - man juice - in a bottle. The more testosterone a person has in their system, the more muscle growth can be increased and the more athletic performance can be increased. Women's performance is much more enhanced with steroids because they start from a much lower baseline for testosterone. The East Germans realised this and some of their sprint records from the 80's stand to this day.

The idea that the best female sprinter, on land or in water, could defeat the best male sprinter over any interval - the chances of that are so low that having the outcome a reality simply beggars belief.

It's way different than having the best woman beat the best man at bowling or golf.

AndyN said...

SPImmortal said...

There's one more physical factor I'd add - Ryan Lochte is 6'2" Ye Shiwen is 5'8". Arm span is roughly equivalent to height. She's giving up 3" of reach on every freestyle stroke, plus having to get closer to the wall for every turn, before you even start to talk about how much less power a female body can put into each stroke and pushoff.

Joe said...

The coach's suspicion arises from the odd split times

Which, when you look at them, are so unbelievable that she's either doping or the timers are wrong.

The other factor is that her times jumped by an amount so huge from her previous events that no training, however intense, can possibly account for them.

The question isn't whether she doped, but how.

rcocean said...

Yes, the best women in 2012 could beat Johnny W. considering they use modern training methods, lift weights, work out constantly year after year, study technique, etc. etc. Not to mention using non-detectable drugs.

Johnny W, probably trained for the Olympics by swimming a couple hours every other day and then having a scotch on the rocks.

fivewheels said...

There's a lot strange about the story. I didn't see the race, but it must have looked incredibly strange for her to be that fast in the final 50 -- faster than Lochte -- considerint that over the full 400 meters Lochte's overall time was 23 seconds faster than hers.

That's a huge difference in a four-minute race, which makes me think the reporting on the splits might be wrong. I mean, it seems almost physically absurd for her to be more than 23 seconds slower over the first four minutes of a race, then blow him out of the water at the end when you should be tiring. She must have looked like she was shot out of a cannon.

Paddy O said...

Leslyn, did you read the article?

It's worth reading.

MadisonMan said...

the timers are wrong.

There are no human timers at the Olympic Games. It's all electronic.

Darrell said...

Time for the "Modern" Olympic Games to end.

After a few decades, we can go back--providing that every country agrees to adopt Weismuller's training regimen of "a couple of hours of training every other day and then having a scotch on the rocks."

leslyn said...

PaddyO and SP Immortal--did you read my full comment?

Stop assuming I'm discussing things which I am not.

Joe said...

There are no human timers at the Olympic Games. It's all electronic.

No kidding. My point is that given the split times, either the electronic timers are wrong, or she was doping. And it is possible for there to be a bug in the software governing the electronic timing system.