Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Rebuttal to the Swimming World Magazine article: "Right or Wrong, Doping Questions about Ye Shiwen Need to Be Asked..."

[UPDATE:  Fixed some horrible grammatical errors and added a few more flourishes to resonate some points of view.]

The premise of the article is that the infamous leader of the American Swimming Coaches Association, John Leonard, was justified in questioning Ye Shiwen's gold medal  performance as "suspicious" and that it should be questioned because she is Chinese and that her times were so good.

Well, her performance shouldn't be questioned, and if it were to be questioned, it should be done by the professionals at the testing labs and not done rhetorically to a global news organization.

Here is how Mr. Rutemiller words it:
"... China has a long history of drug issues. More than 40 Chinese swimmers tested positive for steroids in the 1990s. It was all brought to light in 1998 when Australian customs in Sydney discovered human growth hormone (HGH) in the baggage of swimmer Yuan Yuan. Six days later at the World Championships in Perth, tests showed the presence of a banned diuretic masking agent called triamterene in the urine samples of four Chinese female swimmers.

In June of this year, China removed a 16-year-old swimmer from its team for having erythropoietin (EPO) in her system. EPO enhances both VO2 max (one's ability to intake oxygen) and helps the back half of a swimmer's race. ..." 

After reading the article I did a little research on nations that dope and what surprised me was the sordid past that our very own USOC has in regards to covering up positive tests in American athletes.

Both John Leonard and Brent Rutemiller are obviously uninformed as to how bad doping continues to be within the United States. One could even point a finger at  Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones and Carl Lewis as evidence as to how bad it is.

Moving forward, the premise they both used to justify Ye Shiwen's performance could easily be turned on it's head and subsequently used to question every great performance by an American athlete for the past 30-years. From Mark Spitz to Michael Phelps from Dona De Varona to Missy Franklin. We have had over 100-positive test swept under the rug and that is despicable.

From SCOTT M. REID, WILLIAM HEISEL and TONY SAAVEDRA The Orange County Register:

"... The U.S. Olympic Committee and American sport federations for more than a decade allowed athletes who failed drug tests in qualifying events to compete in the Olympic Games and other world-class competitions.

The Orange County Register reviewed more than 10,000 pages of confidential documents from 1988 to 2000 that show for the first time how the U.S. Olympic movement failed to deal with its own doping issues and kept test results a secret while accusing other countries of failing to control drug use in athletics.

The documents reveal more than 100 cases in which athletes failed tests that would have disqualified them at the Olympics but were ruled "inadvertent use" by U.S. officials.


Then I found this article from Scott Reid in 2009 at the OC Register:

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Olympic Committee, concerned about the potential embarrassment of a doping scandal involving American athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, conducted an informal drug testing program in the months leading up to the Los Angeles Games that allowed Olympic-caliber athletes testing positive for banned substances to escape sanctions, according to documents obtained by The Orange County Register and interviews with three officials involved with the program. At least 34 U.S. track and field athletes either tested positive or had possible positive tests during six weeks of informal testing by USOC in the spring of 1984, according to confidential USOC memos. None of the athletes was sanctioned or lost eligibility, according to USOC documents and interviews.


John Leonard as usual is "throwing stones" in his own "glass house."

Final note,Questioning swimming OUT LOUD instead of letting the grown-ups or the professionals in the lab-coats do so hurts the sport more than it helps it. It is called killing the category. The rhetorical questions Leonard put forth did nothing to encourage or enhance the Olympic games or the spirit therein but rather created strife, finger pointing, and accomplished nothing but ill will and acrimony!


Anonymous said...

Interest that you mentioned Lance Armstrong. The are several parallels in these two athletes. Armstrong passed all of his drug tests, just as Ye Shiwen did. It's poor sportsmanship for people in positions of authority to question either one in the media. Both will have blood available for later testing, as new testing methods become available. For now, it's unfair to the athletes to put them through the rigorous testing process, then disregard the results and make accusations without evidence.

What's also interesting is that for both Lance Armstrong and Ye Shiwen, the accusations are made by the presidents of non-profit corporations who pretend to have authority they do not possess. Tygart pretends his corporation is an agency (USADA) and Leonard identifies himself as president of the World Swimming Association, which exists because he paid $160 fee to register a corporation and get status. Leonard and Tygart are just grabbing their 15 minutes of fames.

Tony Austin said...

I agree with most of what you said. However, I think Leonard made his comments out of desperation or the fear that either USA Swimming or the USOC will recognize that his product/service is obsolete and delivered in a non-standard way. Hence blaming the winner for cheating is fast distraction.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Ye doped or not. But you are essentially stating that we should suppress opinion on this topic by telling guys like John Leonard to keep his mouth shut. Sounds more like the Chines communist way than the American way.

Many of your examples are not swimming. We are talking swimming here and talking about a country that has been caught systematically doping their swimmers. I don't care if it was 15 years ago. Nothing has changed in China since then with respect to the governments mentality so it is perfectly appropriate to question performance results that are quite out of line.

I pulled out a Swimming World from about 1993 the other day with an article on how the Chinese women were coming out of no where with great results...even phenomenal results. In the article Richard Quick questions the results based on performance and suggests doping. I don't recall him being hammered about it....and he was ultimately proven correct. Thank goodness for him. Don't let your hatred for John Leonard cloud your thinking on this topic.

Anonymous said...

If you are following the Armstrong/Tygart tiff, you could say exactly the same thing. USADA is a spinoff from USOC; congress has given it exclusive business, but the days of protected government set-asides are coming to an end, regardless of who is elected. In sports, policy is set at the world level (WADA) and testing is done by approved labs. What does USADA contribute? It's a middleman organization that serves very little purpose. What is ASCA's purpose? The presidents of these corporations draw high salaries and that they would be unlikely to match elsewhere, and need to create a market need for themselves.

By the way, Tygart announced Armstrong would be stripped of all his Tour de France titles and it was carried by news media all over the world. He hasn't been stripped of any titles because the WADA and UCO only say they are waiting for USADA to present the evidence. There doesn't appear to be any.

There's a civics lesson here. Just because someone demands you cooperate with them, doesn't mean they have any authority to do so. Especially when the demand comes from a corporation. Corporations don't have authority over citizens. They must go through the judicial process.

Anonymous said...

No one is suppressing inquiry. There are official channels for inquiry. The media is not the method for this. People who present themselves as authorities (whether they really are or not) need to not try things in the media. Because Leonard holds himself out as someone significant, he should shut up. He should go through the official process for these things. Ordinary citizens are always free to speculate.

Tony Austin said...

No, you are inventing a debate that is not even remotely connected to my criticism. Your debate tactic is unappreciated and transparent.

Voicing your opinions is sacrosanct and when you have controversial opinions you take them up with the responsible parties or governing bodies. Read as WADA, or the testing labs responsible. You do not go to a Globally read newspaper and rhetorically call out a swimmer for "cheating and doping" in a rhetorical fashion. Seriously, what are they going to do about it?

The consequences of what Leonard did created international acrimony and that had consequences. Suddenly fingers were pointed at Ledecky, Phelps and others and why not, the USOC is dirty as well when it comes to hiding doping violations. Look it up. In fact we are apparently dirtier than China!

Subsequently It did nothing to further constructive dialog or promote these three Olympic values:

1. Excellence
2. Respect
3. Friendship

The result could be catastrophic for swimming.

Because of that ignorant man, no one may ever trust a great swimming performance ever.

Finally, you play that "hatred card" for John Leonard anonymously which isn't going to wash as well. You have been in this blog before and you have said the same nonsense. It's a ploy, a tactic and it is B.S.

I don't hate anyone and your statement that I do is simply a "grasping at straws" tactic to cloud the debate.

Anonymous said...

The commenter at 9:33 AM said, "Many of your examples are not swimming."


That gave me the idea that maybe your complaints are not swimming specifically. Isn't it interesting that both these corporations are affiliated with the USOC? Both get their credibility from USOC, although ASCA is indirectly with USA Swimming. Maybe swimming is just the canary in the mine. USADA, USA Swimming, and USOC are all co-located at One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs. (USADA recently moved). What does anyone know about USOC? Certainly, being co-located with USA Swimming, they have to be aware of the problems and complaints. Maybe USOC is really the puppet master?

Tony Austin said...

No doubt - let me put it this way: Since I posted this blog last night, it has been viewed by the city of Colorado Springs 35-times.

Anonymous said...


You or your readers periodically mention different sources of revenue and question what happens to the money. Splash of Truth (don't we all miss them?) mentioned money numerous times also. There are so many financial dealings with businesses linked to or colocated with USAS/USOC or the. Not just ASCA, but USSIC and the 2012 Swim Trials. Now there's USADA that also is affiliated, and there's another one called SportsMed at that Colorado Springs address.

Is there any way to get financial documents on all these? Your readers would love to see how these are all linked. Who is getting paid by what business? USAS and/or USOC must consider John Leonard a liability. If he knows about payments from these businesses, those receiving payments from these business would have to keep him around.

It is unclear why USAS supports Leonard? Doesn't that scream, "Follow the money." That, coupled with the number of businesses, some private, located at One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs makes me want to know more about the money involved. I bet your readers want to know more also.

Because non-profits have so many volunteers, it can be easy to hide businesses within businesses, or hide the finances. Your reader commented on how many prominent coaches are linked with ASCA, but I wouldn't be surprised if most have no access to the books. It could just be John and his wife. Perhaps USAS staff are on the ASCA payroll. As suspicious as ASCA is, that pales in comparison to the money involved with USSIC, SportsMed, 2012 Swim Trials.

Maybe your readers can suggest how we can find out more about the money trail.

Sarah G said...

Whenever I read an anonymous comment that defends John Leonard or implies he his correct (such as the one posted at 9:33), I wonder if it was written by John Leonard himself.

I think it is time to do a John Leonard lawsuit threat revisited post. We could summarize what happened, what the fallout has been, or rather discuss the lack of fallout.

I'll send you my thoughts to include if you'd like to do this.

Anonymous said...

Whatever Tony. Yes, you are right, you don't hate John Leonard. You just seem to despise him.

Tony Austin said...

I looked it up and you're right, to my embarrassment, that word fits.