China

Ye Shiwen after the podium ceremony of the women's 200m individual medley final on July 31. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/GettyImages)

Say what you wish about Ye Shiwen, but the Chinese swimmer whose exploits have dominated talk in the early days of the games gave a remarkably polished performance at her press conference on Tuesday night.

A packed room listened intently on headphones to the translation of her answers to repeated questions about her thoughts and reaction to the storm of controversy about whether or not she is “clean”.

The press conference lasted about 20 minutes, and although a US swimmer shared the stage with her, pretty much all the questions were directed at the Chinese girl.

Ye is 16 years old, but came across as a veteran rather than a novice. No coaches, no minders, came between her and the media. That may not sound out of the ordinary, but four years ago at the Beijing Olympics they hovered around the press conferences to shield and protect the Chinese athletes, particularly the younger ones, from awkward probing by the media. Read more >>