Phelps offers support to China’s Ye

AFP-JIJI

American swimming great Michael Phelps Monday defended Chinese prodigy Ye Shiwen and said it was “sad” that her Olympic performances had been greeted with skepticism.

Phelps, who retired in London with a record haul of 22 medals, including 18 gold, said 16-year-old Ye had simply worked hard to achieve her two Olympic titles, one set in world-record time.

“It’s kind of sad that people have a great swim and that’s the first thing they say,” Phelps said in an interview with CNN.

“People who work hard — it shows. There are people who just jump to that conclusion sometimes, and it’s not right.”

Ye’s 400m individual medley world record, whose final lap was quicker than U.S. winner Ryan Lochte in the men’s final, was described as “impossible” by American coach John Leonard, and also questioned by British media.