Chinese Swim Team Doping

Nearly half of the Chinese swim team tested positive prior to the 2021 Olympics….and they competed anyway.

No reason this isn’t going on in other sports, including cycling.


Non paywalled link


Ahh, the old “it came from the cooktop vents” explanation. :man_facepalming:

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I’m shocked


You can safely assume that every single pro athlete is doping.


Asians can take steroids and not test positive at a higher percentage than other ethnicities. I wonder if they test people in there programs to see if they can take drugs and not test positive


No, you really can’t. Very few things in life are that black & white.

This is no different, so an absolute claim like that is most likely off base.


I wonder if now that drug companies are sponsoring the games if the rules will be relaxed on doping. Just the rules regarding allowing professional athletes to compete were. As was “training” was once forbidden.

I don’t agree with that at all - that’s a fairly lazy assessment. But… I do think it’s extremely naive for anyone to be surprised when any athlete tests positive for something banned.


Basically what I meant, and the reason I didn’t just say “every pro athlete is doping” as that would be impossible to say.

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Seems like a distinction without a difference.


Do you have a reference you can share?

In general, this sort of thing sounds possible to me (but no bio background), but it would be linked to something like a gene or set of genes that affect drug metabolism, and it would be an average effect. East Asians in general, or Chinese specifically, might be more likely to have those genes than, say, Europeans. So, it might be something like the detection threshold for anabolic steroids is higher, on average, in East Asians compared to people of European ancestry. It’s unlikely to be everyone on the Chinese swimming team has an elevated detection threshold.

It’s in Malcom gladwells book. I’ll have to google

I was really surprised when I first read it, so I googled it and found a lot of articles about it. Apparently, there was some research published in the early 2000s that found “interethnic variation in androgen disposition” which led to recommendations of differing test result thresholds. I assumed it was some old stereotype.


I’d want several verified sources studies on significant cohorts before accepting anything that supports “racial” characteristics, let alone national.

Reality is tied to genetics not human social constructs.


This is where I was going also, although I usually assume the OP said this in good faith unless I was presented with evidence otherwise. As I said above, I was assuming that it could be that Westerners are more likely to have a gene or genes that affect T excretion or blood levels than East Asians, so you would want to be accounting for that gene expression.

If you Google the phrase suggested above, you should see a few studies on genetics and T in urine. This is an example (free article). It was Koreans vs Swedes. The UGT2B17 deletion polymorphism was 7.2 times more prevalent among the Koreans (66.7% of Koreans vs 9.3%)l and it was associated with much lower urine levels of testosterone and some metabolites. So, some racial differences are possible. They might be pretty big differences. I don’t know how common large differences like these occur in biology.

I would be careful going from there to saying that for sure the Chinese team can just take loads of T without getting detected unless you can articulate the causal chain. That means explain what they test for, and how the levels throw the test off, etc. remember that this study is with your natural T levels. If you inject anabolic steroids, are you sure they show up differentially in urine. Stuff like that.

Also note my frequent use of words like likely. Not all Koreans in the sample had that gene expression. You aren’t likely, I think, to see cases where all East Asians don’t have X. It’s like the genes for lactose tolerance are more common among White people, yet I know a bunch who are lactose intolerant.


something seems fishy… every country saw what happened to russia at the last olympics. I have a hard time believing a country could think they could dope an entire team and fly under the radar. I dont have even the slightest theory as to whats going on, but its just hard to believe…

Russia got away with it for a long time before they were caught.

It’s not hard to imagine that individuals and nations are still doing this.


Isn’t the threshold now like just a few metabolites of whatever. Athletes getting popped for tainted supplements probably would have never been caught 10 years ago.

When a national team has state sponsored doping behind them, you have to imagine that it is 1000x more sophisticated than even what World Tour teams could come up with.

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