China gives Western media a gold medal for bias

The Chinese think the West is seeing green after swimmer's great performance

Yiping Yang By Yiping Yang

The Chinese think the West is seeing green over a gold medal at the Olympics. It all started when 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen achieved two firsts in one race, the 400-meter individual medley. Ye won the race, netting her a gold medal. But she also became the first gold medal winner in London accused of doping.

The suspicion of doping came because Ye swam the final 50 meters of the 400-meter IM faster than Ryan Lochte, who won the men’s 400 IM, and because she cut seven seconds from her previous best, a startling drop for an Olympic-class swimmer.

Ye Shiwen poses with her gold medal after winning the women’s 200m individual medley final during the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

The International Olympic Committee said Ye passed a drug test. Lord Colin Moynihan said Ye deserved recognition for her talent. Ye later won the 200-meter IM, earning her second gold medal at the London Olympics, making her the first Chinese swimmer to win two gold medals in an Olympics.

The Chinese were riled by the doping allegations, and think jealousy is behind it.

The anti-Doping Chief for China’s General Administration of Sports, Jiang Zhixue, said Chinese athletes, including swimmers, have undergone almost 100 drug tests since they arrived in London. “In my view once the Chinese swimmers performed well, it caused suspicion because some people are just biased against us,” Jiang told Sina News.

Ye herself said it was “ unfair and biased” as she was treated differently from so many other gold medalists.

An editorial in China Daily held that negative comments reported in Western media about Ye and other athletes is based on deep-rooted prejudices against China, and jealousy of Chinese people’s achievements.

The editorial asked if it was normal that Michael Phelps won eight swimming gold medals in 2008 Beijing Olympics. “Of course it is normal. Perhaps no one raised any doubts about Phelps’ performance because he is an American.”

Ye’s father, Ye Qingsong, kept things in perspective, telling China Daily “I don’t care that much about whether my daughter gets a gold medal or not. I just want her to be happy and that’s all.”

But the Chinese press were contrite about another scandal at the Olympics. Two Chinese badminton players were among the eight female badminton players disqualified after they were caught deliberately trying to lose during qualifying matches. The Chinese badminton team accepted the disqualification and Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese badminton team, apologized in public.

“As the head coach, I owe fans and the Chinese people an apology,” Xinhua news quoted Li as saying. “Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit. I should be blamed.”