Thursday, 2 August 2012

Does John Leonard Owe Ye Shiwen An Apology?



The Guardian have a poll up asking readers whether John Leonard owes Ye Shiwen an apology. If you've been following Speed Endurance on twitter (which I strongly suggest you do) you'll know where I stand on this issue.

My maths is a little shaky, but with 98% of Guardian readers believing the answer is yes, I think it is safe to say where the public stand on this issue too.

Here are some more 'gems' from Leonard today, I guess that apology is a long way away...

On Ye's final 50m of the 200 IM being slower than the final 50m of the 400 IM...

"She backed off, obviously," - Ah, he was joking all along, nobody could seriously make this claim... what's that? He really means it? Oh dear...


"She never took a hard stroke at any point in time [in the final 50]. She was told to do what it takes to win, nice job – but if you look at tape from the 400 IM, it's two totally different swims." - This is nonsense. I did look at the tape and she certainly looks like she's trying as she pulls ahead of Alicia Coutts on the 200 IM...


"When she was coming from behind [against American Elizabeth Beisel] she held an eight-beat kick all the way through the 400. That's extremely tiring. In the 200 she used a simple, soft, six-beat kick to get home." - Ah ha, the classic 'easy' six beat kick... Ye Shiwen's kick on the final 50m of the 200 IM did not look simple or soft...

27 comments:

  1. I went and voted yes, because he is not accusing other people who also look like dopers, so he's basically singling her out unfairly, in my opinion.

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  2. He is a part of the overall strategic mental attack initiated from the U.S. delegate. That's the fact. He will not stop talking shit, coz he is desigened to be the Shit maker in this dirty campaign. So guys, save ur energy

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  3. Get Leonard banned from any FINA swimming event

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  4. Shades of surly Shirley, so similar to Michelle Smith in 1996, it hurts. Before Smith even reached the finish Richard Quick knew something was up based on her 7th length exposion in the 400 free, not the last lap were she was able to comfortably get home on the lead, similar to what Leonard describes above. Who ended up being proven accurate?

    It is amazing how blinded, by lack of knowledge, jealousy, denial and other emotions, people can be in their desire to attribute terrible motives to skeptical Americans who simply set out numbers to support their positions, like John has done.

    Lets look rationally at some numbers. You draw you own conclusion ... but don't just cry ugly American racist and then turn off your objective consideration.

    Ye's last two 50s in the 400 IM final were :29.75 (hand touch to foot touch) and :28.93 (foot touch to hand touch).

    Her freestyle legs in prelims/semis/finals of the 200 IM were :30.73, :30.59
    and :29.32 (all hand touch to hand touch). Remember she only won over Couts by .55 so she had to stretch out to the :29.32 to affirm her win. If you are fair, Leonard's comments smack of ... accuracy.

    Compare her hand touch to foot touch 7th length in the 400 IM, :29.75, to the Men's final of the 200 IM and you see last 50s (hand touch to hand touch - inherently quicker than hand to foot) of :29.45 on Thiago Pereria (400 IM silver medalist who was in the hunt for a medal in the 200 at that point and thus certainly giving his all, not backing off), :29.55 on Diebler and :30.02 on James Goddard.

    With the hand/foot touch turn adjustment, Ye essentially beat 3 of the male finalists 200 IM in the Olympic Games, all trying to hang it all out to get to the wall at the end of their 200 race, with her 7th lap of a 400, when she still wasn't to the point for the drive for the finish.

    More directly, the comparison to Lochte got a lot of press, but he in fact beat her last 100 by .03, cruising the last 20 meters. But he did at least beat Ye on her vaunted 7th lap. :29.55 (fastest 7th lap among the men) to ;29.75. But among the other 7? She had a faster 7th lap than 5 of them (i.e. Phelps :29.88)and the two that beat her did so by 0.07 and 0.04.

    If this raises no skepticism in your mind, you are close or past brain dead.

    And another factor that amazes me .... She is SO remarkable in freestyl at the end of her IMs. Where are her comparable med-distance Freestyle races? Comes across as hidden a bit, doesn't it? Why?

    She is a wonderful swimmer, and it is a joy to watch her move through the water when she's rolling. But ... numbers speak without attitude. I hope they simply represent a trancendant new star rather than ... something else.

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    1. I agree that Ye looks like a pretty obvious case of performance enhancing drug use. My issue is that other swimmers, including Americans, also come under this yet they don't get questioned which flags up for me. One rule for them, another for the Chinese.

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    2. I agree. If Schmitt were chinese, I'm sure these people would have pointed their fingers at her.
      Luckily, Schmitt is an american.

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    3. Ledecky as well. It's like she's come out of nowhere to that swim..

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  5. My apology Schmitt, Phelps and Lochte sound like with blood lineage from East Germany to me! Like 'leotard 'said,so-called director of US coaches,Ye performance is disturbing of which he is alluding to PED inducement. And IFFFF Chinese doping is undetectable then Phelps 7WRs at Beijing 2008 are highly suspicious and not possible -- leotard spilled the answer towards this of Herculean feat of Phelps or Schmitt. Remember US is number one in sport science and medicine, they are first to use if there is PED non-traceble to WADA--.Probably Mr. Leonard's past time is reading marvel comics like X-men and Incredible Hulk!

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  6. Why are people reacting so forcefully to this guy? He's not even part of the USOC delegation.

    Also c'mon, let's be fair, Chinese swimming has a much more checkered doping past than American swimming.

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    1. People are reacting because 1) he got into news articles publicly accusing a competitor of cheating, with zero evidence: no failed or missed drugs test, just a really fast final 100; and 2) he did this during her preparation for another race - the 200 IM, in which she was competing for against two Americans. Classy.

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    2. In 2003, Dr. Wade Exum, the United States Olympic Committee's director of drug control administration from 1991 to 2000, gave copies of documents to Sports Illustrated which revealed that some 100 American athletes who failed drug tests and should have been prevented from competing in the Olympics were nevertheless cleared to compete.

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    3. Anonymous 1: so, the US needs to be held responsible for every comment ever made by any American? Some guy speaks to the media and suddenly he's representing "America" in some official fashion? Was all of the immediate questioning of Ledecky automatically justified because of this? The Chinese media has whipped up victimization/nationalist fever by making this into a US vs. China thing and the constant over reactions like the one here add fuel to the fire.

      Anonymous 2: Exum's report doesn't call out any American swimmer (which is what we're discussing here). Also, the report itself is highly contentious and hardly accepted as fact. Also, it's worth noting that its most famous accusation, that Carl Lewis and others for tested positive is a little misleading as they tested positive for pseudephedrine, a popular cold medicine with dubious performance benefits that you've taken many times. Compare that to the self-admitted state-sponsored and systematic steroid/HGH doping of basically all Chinese swimmers in the 90s and early 00s and recent positive EPO cases and it's apples and oranges.

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  7. This is Anonymous 1: No, I am not anti-US at all, of course the US is not responsible for Leonard's comments. John Leonard is responsible. And we are reacting forcefully towards HIM, because of the unacceptability of his comments.

    Of course the questioning of Ledecky wasn't justified, for the exact same reasons (but obviously Ledecky didn't have another race during the meet, so one could argue that it was less of an outrage).

    It is a shame that the Chinese have used Leonard's words to stir up anti-US feelings, but I don't think any overreactions by people like myself or Tom W are to blame, the problem stems from journalists who gave Leonard their time to get his views out in the open like this.
    Leonard: "Ye Shiwen must be doping. She swam really quickly, so it must be true."
    Us: "That's outrageous, he can't say that!"
    Are we really the ones adding fuel to the fire? If no one reacted negatively to his comments, it would fuel a "China vs RestOfWorld" thing, which would be just as bad/worse.

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  8. No apology required. The Chinese have been caught systematically cheating through the years. They keep members off the team for unspecified reasons which makes one think they didn't pass an internal doping assessment. For them to have only one competitor in the 50 free and for her to essentially suck raises even more suspicions.

    The U.S. has never been systematically challenged on doping. Only an athlete here and there. And no U.S. female has ever even come close to a male performer. Missy Franklin's 200 back time is 11 seconds slower than Clary's and her last 50 doesn't even come close to comparing. Regarding Ledecky...she didn't even break the world/olympic record. other than going fast when it counts there was nothing 'superhuman' about her swim.

    If you need further proof of systematic doping in China simply look at their track 10,000 world record. Set in 1993, no one has been within 25 seconds of it since.

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    1. I don't think anyone is doubting that China systematically doped 20 years ago. China (and the rest of the world) has moved on since then.

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    2. Would you care to elaborate on what you mean by China only having 1 competitor in the 50 Free raising suspicions? What is suspicious about that? That the Chinese body type lends itself more to endurance rather than sprint swimming?

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    3. The Chinese have been known for their 50 and 100 freestyle swimmers.

      Not sure if many on this forum are young and don't recall the East Germans or Chinese of the 1990's. These regimes are bent on proving they are superior no matter the means. I pulled out a 1993 Swimming World which discussed the phenominal Chinese. Richard Quick was chastised in it for speculating on pharmaceutical cheating. Others said the Chinese swimmers had passed all drug tests. Same thing with the East Germans. And we all know what happened there. I'm not saying she is guilty or to take away a medal. but we should be very suspicious. There is nothing in the Chinese government that has changed since the last time they cheated.

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    4. I think the Chinese only had 1 in the 50Free because young Li Zhesi failed a doping test didn't she? The girl who was on their relay in 2008 aged 13 and swam 53. aged 14 as well as anchoring the Chinese then medley WR holding off Trickett. I think she was in but failed a test. Also note she was only 13 a month previous to swimming at the 2008 olympics. She went WAY under the radar huh? I think she swam 24. aged just 13 in Beijing.

      RE Ye - Leave the girl alone, enough said from me.

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  9. I think no swimmer should be criticised for being fast. Specially there is no evidence of cheating.

    Why don't we just praise great athletes for their outstanding performances?

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  10. I agree, lets just praise these athletes for the hard work that goes into tuning their body to accomplish these insane speeds.

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  11. anytime you accuse someone, you've got to take accountability.
    Otherwise you're just a coward, like Leonard...

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  12. Why do USA swimming coaches allow themselves to be represented by this goof? While your need to be seen and heard is clearly fulfilling some personal deficit, your comments to the media are clearly racial and hypocritical. When our US swimmers perform, you wave the flag (from those nicely placed US trials seats).... when someone else performs - they cheated. Go away JL - the sport has passed you by!

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  13. Leonard's comments are reactions based on analysis and reactions to numbers. Numbers with no attitude in them. Objective data. Splits; comparative splits. Race analysis.
    98% of the opposing viewpoints (see opening of string about how many believe Leonard owes Ye Shewin an apology) are based on subjective, ignorant and even hateful viewpoints, expressed without any legitimate, supportable objective analysis. Most jump to conclusions of Leonard's racism, sexism, nationalism or worse. For those who rely on Ye not failing her drug tests, remember clean drug tests are not objective evidence of being clean; failing one is evidence of not being clean. Recognize the difference. In fact, most of the comments deriding Leonard are based clearly in racism, sexism, nationalism and a good bit of ignorance about objectively recognizable patterns in athletic performance. Leonard is passionate in his interest to protect the sport ... for all countries, races and sexes and from all countries, races and sexes. He was courageous enough to step out and comment on what analysis of the numbers told him. He is bright enough to fully understand that his comments would bring a firestorm, factually unsupported though they may be, of criticism from an ignorant press and others who in their blind striving for "equal" treatment, actually base their reactions on race, feeling the need to defend Ye Shewin because of her race; on sex, feeling the need to defend Ye Shewin because of her sex; on nationality, feeling the need to defend Ye Shewin because of her country and at the same time attack Leonard because of his. Ugly American, etc. Those presenting their conclusions and horrendous accusations based on such things, all the while arrogantly assuming their statements are free of such taint, are in fact practicing racists, sexists and nationalists. Not Leonard. This is not his first "performance skepticism" rodeo; his long term record on the subject is pretty solid.

    LOOK AT THE NUMBERS, NOT THE RACE, SEX OR COUNTRY. The numbers.

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    1. If one just looks at the numbers and leave nationality of the equation, should one also be suspicious of the achievements for teenage phenoms like Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky and Ruta Meilutyte?

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    2. Ditto Anonymous 02:48 - that's my problem with the Leonard thing.

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  14. Honestly I find it completely ridiculous, claiming your cometetition is cheating with no evidence. Also I am slightly sceptical with people like Missy Franklin and Ruta and Katie, so young and so good?

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  15. Leonard needs to be accountable. This is not only the right thing to do but also sportmanship demands it.

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