Is China cheating?

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Well done. Now do it without the drugs.

Barely three days into the Olympic Games and China has already been accused of cheating.

Ye Shiwen took gold in the 400-meter individual medley, smashing the world record and swimming faster than American Ryan Lochte in the last 50 meters of the race – he won the men’s version of the same race.

BBC commentator Claire Balding turned to her co-host and said: “How many questions will there be about someone who can suddenly swim much faster than she has ever swum before?”

Balding has received some criticism over her remarks, and I can understand that. Her attitude was cynical and to accuse a 16-year-old of cheating smacks a little of bullying.

But you know what? I can understand her attitude more.

Remember those World Championships of 1994?

China won 12 golds – an improbable amount considering they had rarely ranked in the sport previous to that. The reaction was justly suspicious, and just two years later in the 1996 Olympics they won just one gold.

All through the 1990s China’s swimmers tested positive for banned substances – 40 in total, including a 16-year-old (not Ye Shiwen).

China promised to clean up its act.

And maybe it has.

But the point is once you pee in the pool once, you’re going to be the first to get blamed when it happens again.

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