Wednesday, August 1, 2012 – More scandal unfolds in the Olympics with China once again at the center of it all.
The World Badminton Federation charged eight female players with misconduct on Wednesday after four Olympic doubles teams had attempted to “throw” matches to secure a more favorable draw later in the tournament.
“The pairs have been charged … with ‘not using one’s best efforts to win a match’ and ‘conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport’,” the federation said in a statement.
The players involved in Tuesday’s matches were China’s world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari and two South Korean pairs – Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min Jung. Via Reuters
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – Just a few days into the Olympics and China is already being accused of doping. Ye Shiwen is a 16 year old athlete for China who won the gold medal in the 400m individual medley and her performance was something that an American coach accurately described as “disturbing”. She not only won that competition but she swam the last 50m faster than the winner of the men’s event. When Shiwen was asked about the alleged doping she responded “There is no problem with doping. The Chinese team has a firm policy so there is no problem with that.” The reports that I have detailed in the original post show that there is a problem with doping and there always has been. China just can’t get through an Olympics without cheating. Source: BBC News
China started of the 2012 Olympic Games in London with a bang quite literally when they took the first gold medal of the games in the 10m air rifle competition. China is always a serious competitor in the Olympics and challenges the Americans who are often heavily favored for a spot on the medal podium however news about China’s Olympic program has leaked out this week by the former Chinese Olympic teams’ doctor. While the Olympic Games are seen as the pinnacle sporting event in the world that doesn’t mean they’re without scandal and China’s credibility in past games calls their credibility into question once again.
Many have heard of the term ‘doping’ in recent months due to the focus on Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs but it has now been revealed that Chinese athletes were actually required to dope before the Olympic games in order to gain an edge. This came at a time when China was rising rapidly as a sporting power and was being viewed as a threat for the first time. This is also the first time that anyone has refuted Beijing’s official story that the embarrassing usage of doping was solely the decision of the athletes. If true it would mean that China has essentially cheated in most major sporting events, including the Olympics, from the 1980’s until as recently as Beijing in 2008 so will they cheat again?
Xue Yinxian, the former chief doctor for the Chinese gymnastics team in the 1980s, said steroids and human growth hormones were officially treated as part of “scientific training” as the country emerged as a sporting power.
“It was rampant in the 1980s,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “One had to accept it.”
Cleaning up their act
China has claimed that it has cleaned up its act since it won 12 gold medals in the 1994 world swimming championships when the claims of doping were the strongest yet 7 positive tests obliterated their chances of winning a handful of gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. They ended up only winning a single medal in swimming that year. Again in 1998 at the world championships in Perth, Australia another Chinese swimmer was busted with a human growth hormone. Swimmers were not the only ones testing positive and it seemed that the only Chinese athletes not doping up were those who competed in events where increased muscle mass was not necessary.
Before the start of the 2012 Games Chinese athletes and coaches allegedly had to take an oath before the nation’s flag where they vowed to stay away from performance enhancing drugs which highlights that the problem still persists. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that China has cheated and may still be cheating because their 2008 Olympics were riddled with scandal but enough fake birth certificates were produced to please even the likes of Donald Trump yet it still proved that China is so desperate to be on the podium that they’ll cheat to get there.
The scandal of the ages
2008 is the most recent example of China’s desperation to upstage its competitors and frankly it marred what could have been an exceptional moment for China although those in China probably know nothing of the scandal. In what has been called the scandal of the ages, China was caught using gymnasts who were years too young to compete in the Olympics. The minimum age to compete is 16 yet China was using female athletes as young as 12 whereas their American rivals were all significantly older which of course gave China the edge. Age falsification isn’t new for the Chinese as they were previously busted after the 2000 Sydney games using a then 14 year old gymnast. China said she was turning 16 the year of the games which made her eligible but in interviews after the games, and after winning a bronze medal, she admitted she was actually underage. The documentation provided for the gymnasts in 2008 was issued just a few months prior to the Olympics and the document used to prove age was a government issued passport. When questions were raised the families of the gymnasts were no where to be found either. Documents online that were obtained by news agencies proved that the girls were not eligible but they were allowed to compete anyway and with the games in Beijing the I.O.C couldn’t afford to piss of China by punishing its athletes.
Can China compete without cheating?
With the 2012 Olympics underway outside of China it will be interesting to see if that oath has done anything to curb the Chinese desire to cheat. I’d personally like to be able to watch the gymnastics competition without throwing things but that remains to be seen. China has a very long history of rigging things in their favor from currency, pollution reports and international athlete’s birth years but maybe they’ll be able to make it through an Olympics without the credibility of their athletes and their entire country being called into question. China’s athletes are a force to be reckoned with on their own so it is a shame that we can’t be sure if we are getting a fair competition. One thing is certain though and it is that I’ll be keeping an eye out just as I did in 2008.