In case you missed it this weekend, Ryan Lochte turned in a hell of a gold medal performance in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday. For those of us smart enough to watch the live stream online before NBC idiotically aired the race later on tape delay, we saw a torch passed from fourth-place finisher Michael Phelps to the new face of U.S. Swimming, Lochte. Of course, Lochte was no match in the final 50m freestyle for the 16-year-old female swimmer from China, Ye Shiwen. Yes, seriously.
From the Daily Mail, one of the many British newspapers now making this connection today:
Ryan Lochte knocked Olympic icon Michael Phelps off his perch on Saturday with a brilliant performance to win the men's 400m individual medley.
But just minutes later, in the women's version of the event, a 16-year-old Chinese prodigy performed an even more amazing feat as she smashed the world record and left her competitors far behind.
Ye Shiwen posted such a good time that her final 50m was in fact faster than Lochte's performance in the men's event, at just 28.93 seconds.
Shiwen trailed half-way through the race before swimming what has been described as a "super-human" last 50 meters. Typically, men's and women's swimming numbers are not comparable. Shiwen actually topped anything the bigger, faster Lochte was able to do. You can probably see where this is going.
Cue the doping scandal in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
The first major doping controversy of the London Olympics flared to life today after John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, described the gold medal-winning performance of 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the women's 400m individual medley as "unbelievable".
Leonard, who is also the executive director of the USA Swimming Coaches Association, described Ye's swim as "disturbing" and said that it "brings back a lot of awful memories" of Irish swimmer Michelle Smith's winning performance in the same event at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Smith, now Michelle de Bruin, was banned for four years in 1998 after testing positive for androstenedione.
Olympic winners are routinely drug tested after events, so expect the test results from Shiwen to heavily scrutinized over the next week.