China’s Ye Shiwen reacts after winning gold in the women’s 200m individual medley swimming final at the Aquatics Centre. Photograph: Mark J. Terrill/AP
• Chinese swimmer wins second gold medal at Aquatics Centre
• Australia’s Alicia Coutts takes silver, beaten by 0.58 seconds
Ye Shiwen’s life may be a little different to how it was 24 hours ago, but her performances are not. Ye added the Olympic 200m Individual Medley title to the 400m version that she won on Saturday. She did it in a new Olympic record time of 2min 7.57sec, the third-quickest time in history, and eight-tenths of a second faster than anyone has gone since hi-tech swimsuits were banned in 2010. Once again, it was Ye’s freestyle kick that did it. She had been in third place at the final turn, behind the US national champion Caitlin Leverenz, but she swam her final 50m of freestyle in 29.32 to beat
’s Alicia Coutts into second by over half a second.
Since Ye was last in the pool, the doubts raised by the US coach John Leonard about her performance in the final of the 400m Individual Medley had run around the world, fuelling furious debate. There were 17,500 pairs of eyes in the Aquatics Centre, all of them fixed on her, all belonging to people with their own opinions and arguments, but most of them, one way or another, having asked themselves the question “is she, or isn’t she?” Most, but not all: Ye received loud support from a conspicuous contingent of Chinese athletes and officials, who had come to support her, bearing flags and rattles. It was the first night that they had come out in such force.