London 2012 Swimming: Men vs. Women

Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen outpaces even the fastest male athlete in record win.
2:47 | 07/31/12

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Transcript for London 2012 Swimming: Men vs. Women
SO OUR RESEARCH SHOWS IN THE HISTORY OF THE OLYMPICS, NO WOMAN HAS EVER BEATEN A MAN'S SPEED IN THE SAME EVENT. SO WHAT REALLY HAPPENED WHEN THAT CHINESE SWIMMER WENT SO FAST, SHE ALMOST BEAT MICHAEL PHELPS? SHE WON THE GOLD MEDAL. LET'S GO BACK TO BILL WEIR AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES FOR ANSWERS. Reporter: THE OLD SLOGAN "YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY" SEEMS SEXIST AND CONDESCENDING IN 2012, BUT NO DENYING THE BEST FEMALE ATHLETES OF TODAY COULD BEAT THE BEST MEN OF YESTERYEAR. THIS WEEKEND, 16-YEAR-OLD YE SHIWEN COVERED TWO LAPS OF THE POOL JUST AS FAST AS "TARZAN" JOHNNY WEISMULLER DID IN THE '28 OLYMPICS AND FASTER THAN MARK SPITZ IN THE 1969 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. BUT WHAT HAS ALL OF LONDON TALKING IS HOW HER TIMES COMPARE TO THE MEN OF TODAY. IN THE 400 MEDLEYS, SHE SWAM THOSE FINAL TWO LAPS ALMOST EXACTLY AS FAST AS MICHAEL PHELPS, AND IN THE LAST 50 METERS, WAS FASTER THAN RYAN LOCHTE. "EVERY TIME WE SEE SOMETHING 'UNBELIEVABLE,' HISTORY SHOWS US THAT IT TURNS OUT DOPING WAS INVOLVED," JOHN LEONARD TOLD A BRITISH PAPER. AND THOUGH THE SO-CALLED "MANDARIN MERMAID" PASSED HER DRUG TEST SATURDAY, PARENTS OF AMERICAN SWIMMERS ARE SUSPICIOUS AS WELL. IF IT'S WITHIN THE RULES TODAY, THEY MIGHT HAVE TO CHANGE THE RULES LATER WHEN THEY FOUND OUT WHAT THEY DID. Reporter: IN CHINA, THERE IS OUTRAGE OVER THE ALLEGATIONS, AND CHARGES OF RACISM. Translator: I THINK THE ACCUSATIONS ARE UNFAIR. PEOPLE MAY THINK ASIANS ARE NOT AS STRONG AS AMERICANS OR EUROPEANS. Reporter: BUT BIOLOGY TELLS US THAT WOMEN LIKE YE CAN'T BE FASTER THAN HER MALE PEERS OVER THE LONG HAUL, BECAUSE A MAN'S HEART PUMPS ABOUT 16% MORE BLOOD PER BEAT, HIS LUNGS HOLD UP TO 30% MORE OXYGEN, AND LONGER LEGS MEAN STRONGER KICKS. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO DESTROYING OTHER WOMEN, CHINESE OFFICIALS POINT TO HER EXPENSIVE TRAINING TO EXPLAIN HER EXPLOSIVE TIMES, AND HER PHYSICAL GROWTH. WHEN SHE WON THE ASIAN GAMES AT 14, SHE WAS JUST OVER 5'2." SHE'S GROWN FOUR INCHES SINCE, AND GIVEN HER HUGE HANDS AND FEET, SEVERAL FORMER OLYMPIANS SAY HER SPEED SPURT IS REASONABLE. "MY RESULTS COME FROM HARD WORK AND TRAINING," YE TOLD THE CHINA NEWS SERVICE LAST NIGHT. "THE CHINESE PEOPLE HAVE CLEAN HANDS." AMONG THOSE COMING TO HER DEFENSE, BOB BOWMAN, THE MAN WHO WAS WRKING WITH MICHAEL PHELPS A AS COACH SINCE HE WAS 10 YEARS OLD. HE SAID IT'S A RESULT OF CYNICISM AFTER ALL THE POSITIVE TESTS FROM THE CHINESE IN THE '890s. IF SHE IS RACING THAT CLEAN THAT FAST, SHE IS PAYING FOR THE SINS OF THE PAST. THAT WAS A SPORTSMAN LIKE THING FOR THE COACH TO SAY.

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