LONDON---Chinese teenager Ye Shiwen, boosted by a strong freestyle leg, took the women’s 200-meter individual medley Tuesday night, winning in 2 minutes, 7.57 seconds, an Olympic record.
Finishing second was Alicia Coutts, and American Caitlin Leverenz took the bronze.
For Ye, it was her second individual Olympic gold medal at the London Games. Her first gold came in world-record fashion in the 400 individual medley on Sunday and put the 16-year-old under intense scrutiny.
First, because her winning time was five seconds faster than her previous personal best and she swam the final 50 meters of the freestyle leg faster than the men’s winner, Ryan Lochte.
John Leonard, the Florida-based executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Assn., called Ye’s performance “impossible” and “unbelievable” Monday, telling the Guardian that similarly rapid improvements by swimmers have been followed by evidence of doping.
Ye’s father defended her in an interview with a Chinese news agency and the head of the country’s administrative body, told Xinhua: “We never questioned Michael Phelps when he [won] eight gold medals in Beijing.”