Chinese Olympic swimmer Ye Shiwen has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, after smashing a world record at the London Olympics.
Ye Shiwen, 16, won gold in the 400 m individual medley after breaking her personal best by at least five seconds.
She swam the last 50 m quicker than the men’s champion, prompting leading US coach John Leonard to describe her performance as “disturbing”.
There is no evidence against her and all medal winners are drug-tested.
She is due to race in the final of the 200m individual medley later on Tuesday.
Coach John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, said her performance reminded him of the East German women swimmers in the 1980s who were doping on a systematic basis.
“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,” John Leonard told the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
Chinese Olympic swimmer Ye Shiwen has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, after smashing a world record at the London Olympics
China’s swimming team was repeatedly hit by doping scandals in the 1990s.
Seven swimmers tested positive for drugs in the 1994 Asian Games, and four years later four Chinese swimmers failed pre-tournament drug tests before swimming world championships in Australia.
But Ye Shiwen denied the allegations, telling reporters: “My results come from hard work and training and I would never use any banned drugs. The Chinese people have clean hands.”
The accusations have sparked an angry reaction from Chinese internet users, who have accused other nations of jealousy.
Chinese swimming team leader Xu Qi told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency that Ye Shiwen’s result had been expected.
“To compare Ye’s result with Lochte’s is meaningless,” he said.
“Ye was behind after 300m and she needed to try her best to win the race, but Lochte had already established the lead before the freestyle and didn’t need to do his upmost.”
Arne Ljungqvist, medical commission chairman for the International Olympic Committee, called the speculation sad.
“To raise suspicion immediately when you see an extraordinary performance – to me it is against the fascination of sport,” he said.
All medal winners at the Olympics are drug tested. In addition, any athlete whose performance is far better than anything they have achieved before can be targeted for extra tests.
China’s anti-doping chief has said that Chinese athletes have undergone nearly 100 drugs tests since arriving in London, and that not a single Chinese athlete had tested positive.
Who is Ye Shiwen?
• Born in 1996 in eastern city of Hangzhou
• Started swimming in 2003, reportedly after her teacher noticed she had large hands
• Joined the national team in 2008
• Won the 200m and 400m individual medley at the 2010 Asian Games
Australian Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice has been criticized for posing in a bikini deemed “too revealing” – but has started a copycat craze of people wearing the outfit.
Triple gold medalist Stephanie Rice posted the picture of her in a two-piece designer swimsuit on Twitter earlier this week.
The bikini – known as the “tomb raider” – had been given to her as a birthday present from the designer Ellie Gonsalves.
But critics blasted for the sports star for showing off in the costume which some claimed was “too sexy”.
One fan tweeted: “Stephanie Rice posting a photo of herself in swimwear has brought disgrace to the Australian swim team and she should be dropped.”
Despite the public backlash, Stephanie Rice left the photo on her Instagram page.
Australian Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice has been criticized for posing in a bikini deemed “too revealing”
There were also claims that by posing in the swimsuit she could have breached a sponsorship contract with Speedo.
However, her management denied that she had broken any rules.
A spokesman said: “No, Stephanie isn’t an ambassador for Ellie Gonsalves, she just loves their stuff.
“She doesn’t have any relationship with Speedo anymore so there are no restrictions there.”
Despite some criticism, the picture sparked a string of spoofs with men posting pictures of themselves in the same costume. Many of them were supporting the swimmer.
Radio presenter Ryan Fitzgerald contacted the makers of the bikini and was sent one to wear. He put the picture online of him and friend Michael Wipfli wearing the swimsuit.
The outfit’s designer Ellie Gonsalves also posted a picture of herself in the costume to show support for her athlete friend.
Ellie Gonsalves label director Vanessa Bryce said that sales of the bikini have soared since Stephanie Rice’s picture was made public.
“We’ve had inquires from all over – the US, Singapore. We’ve sold an extra 60 since the photo ran and sales of other swimwear has also gone up,” she told the Herald Sun.
“Yes, we are preparing a special package of things to send (Rice) after the Olympics to say thank you,” she added.
The controversy is the latest to hit the swimmer, who won three golds at Beijing in 2008 and is the world record holder for the women’s 400m individual medley.
In 2008, Stephanie Rice sparked outrage when a picture of her posing in a skin-tight police costume appeared on her Facebook page.
And in September 2010 she was slammned she wrote “suck on that faggots” after Australia beat South Africa in a Rugby Union match.
Stephanie Rice was criticized for the comments and made a tearful public apology.
The latest outrage comes just days after two of Australia’s male swimmers posed with guns for a picture that was posted on Facebook.
The image, taken in a gun shop in Santa Clara, California, showed Nick D’Arcy with two pistols standing next to Kenrick Monk who is holding two shotguns across his chest.
The photo was removed after condemnation from Swimming Australia. A spokesman said: “Swimming Australia does not condone the posting of inappropriate content on Facebook, Twitter or any social media platform.”