Olympics 2012: How did a Ye-llow beat the Whiteys in swimming?, asks the BBC



 When 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen set a new world record for the 400m medley, eyebrows were raised about the margin of her victory, despite her passing all the drugs tests. But does a closer look at the figures really reveal anything unusual?



....Sport scientists say that during a teenage growth spurt, there is a release of hormones that can suddenly increase the powers of endurance.

.....Ye set a new world record time of four minutes 28.43 seconds, beating the previous mark by more than a second.
But to take the case of Stephanie Rice, again, she beat the world record by a wider margin back in 2008.
(Ye’s achievement) It's impressive but it's not that remarkable. - bbc


The Historical Context

Some years ago, when the west ‘scrambled for concessions’ in China, carved it up, and exploited it, the Chinese felt a terrible blow to their pride as they had, till then, and as they do now, believed themselves to be the centre of civilisation - which is why the chinese characters for ‘China’ is actually ‘middle kingdom/country/land’, and not China.  So, ever since then, rather than ceasing to believe that the world revolved around them, they’ve been doing much to ensure that it does, so as to reinstate their juvenile pride. 

But the west, having emerged victorious from the colonial era, and having put down another yellow race - the Japanese - who were beating them at their own game (what is not often discussed is that the Japanese political and war machine, and their colonial ambitions were developed and stoked by the west themselves.....just as ‘Nazi Germany’ and Hitler was a product of western views towards other races and not just a highly regrettable idiosyncrasy of the Germans) - the world began to revolve around them.  They remade the world in their capitalist/nationalist image, and then withdrew only to ensure that they set things up in a way to keep gaining at the expense of the world via the so-called natives of the countries they colonised.  So be it in people thinking that this or that western pop band/singer, movie, etc, etc, or people rushing to term as ‘terrorists’ those who do to the west as was done unto them, the west determined the perception of humanity - excluding the ed of course. 

So, it is within this context that the west, like China did after they had their imperial arses kicked in the colonial era, has to keep attempting to make sense of how a yellow beat a white in the swimming races during the Olympics.  Some dumb American - forgive the tautology there - stated it was ‘disturbing’ that Ye Shiwen had thrashed them.  Then we had allegations of doping - even though Ye had been cleared.  Then it was ‘China’s obsession with Gold’.   And upon Ye’s win, the BBC commentator also stated how she looked so ‘ordinary‘ as well.  And now these people are delving into ‘statistics’ and stupidly applied theories to answer the question as to why this relatively flat-faced female from the Far East swished her way to victory past her even paler but sharper featured betters.

When it is a white who wins, it is talent, skill, training, hard work, etc, but when it is a Chinese girl, it is her youth, drugs, hormones, and hence, basically unremarkable.It reminds me of the pseudo-scientific race theories that were bandied about in the west not too long ago during colonial times that sought to ‘explain’ and justify white superiority over the non-western world.  As the Bible didn’t do much in explaining this hierarchy, they had to produce a whole range of other theories to justify their continued exploitation, slaughter and pillage of the non-western world - the Africans and aboriginals of Australasia and America got the worst of it.  It worked.  And it is from this sort of environment that Hitler was born....and why the Japs were chosen to test the Atomic bomb on and not Germany. 

When it is a whitey who wins, it is talent, skill, training, hard work, etc, but when it is a Chinese girl, it is her youth, drugs, hormones, and basically unremarkable.  They will not be scrambling for answers as to how whitey no.1 thrashed whitey no.2.  Even the blacks are exempt.  I suppose, after suffering a huge sense of shame in the course of the blacks not putting up with white supremacism - as others have to put up with chinese supremacism in s.e.Asia in the present - and learning to appreciate the value of equality via the work of other egalitarian movements in the west, they have learnt to appreciate all within their region.  However, it is obvious that this is not extended to those whom aren’t and especially those whom were not a significant part of western egalitarian movements in the past.

Additionally, since 'Team GB' and other 'Team West' do not really have much of a chinese representation within their ranks - not due to racism - they may feel more averse to being beaten by the Chinese.  In that sense, it is their critique of Chinese victory is more of a nationalist rather than a racial one.  But the colonial us vs. them spirit still underlies it.  (i'd prefer the west in this matter because if it was the Chinese, the absence of non-Chinese within their ranks would not be due to their country not having enough of a non-Chinese population, but simply because they tend to exclude the non-Chinese for not being Chinese.)

Hence, this incessant whining about Ye beating not only her competitors, but her counterpart Ryan Lochte in the dicks-only swimming challenge in terms of timing. 


The Lame Arguments

So some are saying it’s because she is young and is enjoying a teenage growth spurt which releases the hormones required to increase ones powers of endurance.  Well, how is that ‘Great’ Britain’s younger stars in the running events in the stadium got thrashed then?  Were their hormones otherwise engaged?

Ye’s achievement is deemed to be ‘impressive but it’s not that remarkable’ according to the BBC because she only beat the world record by just over a second, whereas some white chick from Australia by the name of Stephanie Rice - shouldn’t it be potatoes instead of rice? - beat the previous world record by a wider margin in 2008.  Well, it depends how you look at it isn’t it.  One could easily and validly say that Ye beat the record that Stephanie beat by a wider margin than Stephanie.  It’s just that Stephanie did it in 2008, and Ye did it a few days ago.  In this case, it is pure and simple bias that makes one reduce Ye’s achievement to implied mediocrity.  You can be sure that it a Brit, Am, Aus, FR, etc, were to do the same, they wouldn’t be calling it ‘impressive but not remarkable’, but talent.

As for Lochte having swam slower than Ye, it is said that he ‘simply paced himself over the race very differently to Ye Shiwen’, and that Rebecca Adlington swam faster than both Locte and Ye in the final leg of the 800m freestyle at the world championships last year.  Again, an effort to reduce Ye’s achievement. 

Ed, unlike all the naysayers and doubters in this case, doesn’t have to be Chinese to appreciate Ye’s achievement, just as Ye doesn’t need to be a white for ed to call it talent.
And to top it off, the BBC ends off the article with a justifying of the doubts over Ye’s achievement by alluding to the ‘cloud that has hung over Chinese swimming ever since 32 of their swimmers tested positive (for drugs) in the 1990s.  The point is, since nobody has been tested positive since then, it should have been dropped, and especially since Ye tested negative for drugs herself.

After all this ‘evidence’ as to why Ye won, which basically implies that she beat the whites because of other reasons and not simply she was much better than them, the BBC ends of with ‘but none of that means we should doubt Ye Shiwen’s integrity, and there is certainly no statistical smoking gun’.  That is like stating that there is every reason to believe that there were other reasons why Ye won, but she still could have won it because she is good.  The strength of the contradiction of the former statements basically undoes the validity of the latter. 


For myself, Ye’s victory was impressive.  She thrashed her competitors by a great distance.  Since Stephanie Rice’s beating the previous record by a wide margin, none of the other competitors at present could come close except Ye who would have beat Rice if she was 16 and took part in the swim back then by an even wider margin than Stephanie compared to the previous record.  The BBC could have take this ‘statistical’ and analytical approach, and their not doing so has quite a lot of statistics explaining why that has been the case since colonial times.

I’m not getting some ‘asian’ pride in taking the side of Ye over the western incredulity over Ye’s win.  ‘Asian’  as a singular and meaningful descriptor of those inhabiting that region makes no sense as there is a galaxy of difference between the multicultural, democratic, and perspectivally brilliant Indians and the monocultural, Orwellian, and perspectivally narrow Chinese.  However, the truth is still the truth.  Ye’s win was impressive and remarkable.  I can’t help but remember how she looked immediately after she reached the end.  She looked like she just got into the pool.  Not strained in any way unlike many other swimmers.  Very Zen.  Ed, unlike all the naysayers and doubters in this case, doesn’t have to be Chinese to appreciate Ye’s achievement, just as Ye doesn’t need to be a white for ed to call it talent.


ed




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