U.S. swim coach's personal info crawls onto China's Twitter

Coach who is suspicious of absurdly fast Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen has his personal details posted on Sina Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, by the former head of Google China. Is this Guy Adams II?

Ye Shiwen. Yay, she wins. ITN News Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

These Olympics have been so exciting that it has almost made me want to watch tape-delays, rather than merely read and write about them.

Even in the last 24 hours, NBC has shown a bare female breast, not shown the downfall of a great Russian gymnast, and generally suggested that, like the color of Bob Costas' hair, all may not be quite what it seems.

However, now I bring you a controversy that surpasses even that of Twitter and NBC huddling together to have Independent correspondent Guy Adams suspended from the site .

For a U.S Swimming official has had his personal details exposed on China's equivalent of Twitter -- Sina Weibo -- by the former head of Google China, Kaifu Lee.

The BBC tells me that John Leonard, the executive director of the American Swim Coaches Association, had uttered suspicious whispers about the performance of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen.

He felt it somewhat odd that Ye had swum faster than America's Ryan Lochte, given that Lochte is male and Ye is not.

Oh, ye of little faith, lamented Lee.

So he used the power of his 15 million followers to give Leonard something of what is now known as the Zenkel Treatment -- named after the NBC executive who had his work e-mail address exposed by the aforementioned Adams.

You will be stunned to hear that Lee's defense is that Leonard's home and work addresses, phone number, and an e-mail address (yes, there was passion involved here) were all publicly available.

His posting on Sina Weibo said, in part:

All the official organizations have now confirmed Ye Shiwen was clean. John Leonard should apologize. Below are his background and contact details. If you want to contact him, I suggest using civilized and factual approach.

I fear that appealing for civilization and facts on a Twitter-like site is like appealing for civilization and facts in a political campaign.

Lee has this morning apologized. Pando Daily (which is not a Chinese wildlife site) quotes him as having explained:

This morning, I read John Leonard's unfair accusations about Ye Shiwen and felt outraged. So I found his public contact information, and sent him an e-mail message asking him to apologize. Then, I wrote a Weibo post, asking other netizens to send fact-based and civilized e-mails to him as well. I also attached his other contact information in this post.

He added, magnanimously:

I apologize for the inappropriateness of my actions, and any inconveniences this may have caused John. At the same time, I sincerely hope that John would also consider an apology to Ye Shiwen.

There is, regretfully, more pain to be revealed. For Yahoo Sports reports today that Leonard is not backing down at all.

Yes, he called Ye's performance "disturbing." He still does, but uses more civilized words.

He told Yahoo Sports: "It's an anomaly. Regardless where it comes from -- take China's history completely out of it -- an anomaly needs to be pointed out. And it's the only anomaly of the week."

Moreover, he suggested that Ye was told not to swim too fast in last night's 200 meters Individual Medley -- just so that, you know, she wouldn't have beaten the men's world record or something equally, um, disturbing.

It is unclear just how much inconvenience Lee's exposure has caused Leonard.

One can only hope that, before the end of this week, NBC will have set up a new Twitter account to record all of the best microblogging controversies of the Olympics.

Naturally, this would be launched after the Olympics are actually over.

 

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