LONDON (Reuters) - An American swimming coach who suggested China’s Olympic swimming champion Ye Shiwen could be using banned substances is not associated in any way with the country’s swimming or Olympic team, the United States Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.
The 16-year-old Ye won the gold medal in the women’s 400m individual medley in world record time while also shaving five seconds of her personal best time.
Her dazzling performance, however, almost instantly raised questions given China’s past doping history.
“John Leonard is not an employee, representative or spokesperson for USA Swimming, nor is he a member of the U.S. Olympic swim team or part of the U.S. delegation,” a United States Olympic Committee spokesman said.
Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association said that history showed that every time something ‘unbelievable’ occurred in swimming, it turned out ultimately to involve doping.
“We want to be very careful about calling it doping,” the American John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
“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.”
Earlier on Tuesday the International Olympic Committee hinted Ye’s mandatory post-race doping test had been negative for any banned substance.
The speculation swirling around the Chinese swimmer is unfair and may be triggered as much by where she comes from as her remarkable performances in the Olympic pool, rival team coaches said.
”While there is no positive test, there’s nothing to say. That’s it,“ French coach Denis Auguin, whose swimmer Alain Bernard won 100 meters freestyle gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, told Reuters. ”Effectively it is very astonishing but you see other astonishing things in swimming, extraordinary things,“ he added.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ossian Shine