Olympics: Artistic Swimming-Womens Team Free Routine
Jack Gruber-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) defended clearing 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for a banned drug seven months before the Tokyo Olympics.

Several of the swimmers went on to take gold at the Games.

The WADA claims they had no choice but to clear the Chinese swimmers after they tested positive for a banned prescription heart medicine.

Why? Because claims surfaced that positive tests were contaminated from spice containers in the kitchen of a hotel where some of the Chinese team stayed previously.

“We had no credible way to disprove the contamination theory,” WADA prosecutor Ross Wenzel said. He cited restrictions in place due to COVID.

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Chinese Swimmers Secretly Cleared

Clearing the Chinese swimmers based on claims that their blood tests were contaminated by spices is questionable to begin with.

But if that’s what we’re going with, why did the WADA only just now admit this? Why did they, as the New York Times reports, “secretly” clear them to compete?

“Top Chinese officials secretly cleared them of doping and the global authority charged with policing drugs in sports chose not to intervene,” the Times writes.

If you’re confident in your decision, say so from the onset. Own it. You’re only using that defense now because the cheating has been given sunlight.

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Went On To Win Gold

It wasn’t as if the Chinese swimmers in question were backbench competitors with no consequential roles for their team either. They went on to win three gold medals according to the Times report.

One American who earned a silver medal in Tokyo said she felt her team had been “cheated” in a race won by China.

Paige Madden, a member of the U.S. 4×200 freestyle relay team, said the Americans applauded their Chinese counterparts.

“Today however, I feel that Team USA was cheated,” she says. “We didn’t get to celebrate our world record, and we didn’t get our team moment to be on the top of the podium to watch our flag and sing the national anthem.”

Team USA was cheated.

Meanwhile, a British gold medalist demanded the Chinese swimmers be banned from the sport.

“Ban them all and never compete again,” writes James Guy, who took home two golds.

It’d be hard to fathom that Chinese officials would have been so lenient with Olympic swimmers from other nations testing positive for a banned substance just before the games in Tokyo.

And it’d be highly unlikely they’d throw their arms up and claim ignorance because of the contaminated spice excuse.

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