The Chinese have established themselves as Olympic heavyweights, after spending their first few Olympics in the shadows of traditional giants like the US and Russia. The Asian powerhouse began their climb to the top at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, when they claimed third place in the overall medals tally - the best ever performance at the time. They went one better at the Athens 2004 Games, claiming second and finally reached the summit, fittingly at home, during the Beijing 2008 Games.
A glance at the medals tally for the London 2012 Olympics will show the Chinese are in no mood to relinquish their position as the best sporting nation in the world - whereas other countries and their athletes are still finding their feet, the Chinese have already recorded 13 gold medals.
So intense is the competition between the Americans and the Chinese that the Olympics is rapidly becoming a proxy war of sorts... hardly a surprising development given the countries involved.
"Olympic sport is part of the culture war," Chinese sports executive Wei Jizhong told the Denver Post, "In the culture war between China and the U.S., in the culture part, China is very weak. USA always is leading. In culture, you have theater, music; China cannot win. The only way China can compete with the USA is sports."
And compete they do. As we head into the fifth day of the London 2012 Olympics, the two superpowers are tied with 23 medals each; China's larger haul of gold medals means they have first place. Unfortunately for those who were looking to see the true spirit of Olympics blossom at these events, the medal wars between the US and China are fast turning ugly, with allegations of doping flying around.
The latest developments in the off-court war were comments made by American official Justin Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA). Leonard labelled Ye's World and Olympic Record times (Ye set a World Record of 4:28.43 in the final of the women's 400m individual medley and an Olympic Record of 2:07.57 in the final of the 200m individual medley) as "suspicious". He added that it brought back "a lot of awful memories" (Irish swimmer Michelle de Bruin nee Smith was banned after being suspected of drug abuse but she was allowed to retain the three gold medals from the Atlanta 1996 Olympics). Meanwhile, Leonard's suspicions of Ye are based on the fact that the 16 year old girl swam the final 100m of her 400m freestyle final in 58.68s and the last 50m quicker than American Ryan Lochte, who won the men's 400m freestyle with the second-fastest time in history.
"We want to be very careful about calling it doping," Leonard was quoted as saying by the Telegraph, "Every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, 'unbelievable', history shows us that it turns out later there was doping involved. Any time someone has looked like superwoman in the history of our sport they have later been found guilty of doping."
Ye, meanwhile, is not amused and, when asked if this could all simply be a case of targeting her simply because she was Chinese and it fit an evil stereotype, the youngster agreed.
"I also feel the same way. How come they criticize me, just because I have multiple medals?" the 16 year old demanded. Incidentally, the young girl has never failed a drugs test.
Fortunately, the controversy is being dealt with and remarks by Mark Adams, a spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), suggest the governing body is less than happy with speculation of this sort.
"We need to get real," Adams was reported as saying by USA Today, "These are the world's best athletes. The first five athletes (who place in competitions) are tested. We have a very strong drug testing program. If there are cheats, we will catch them. ... We can't stop speculation. It is a sad result that there are people who dope and cheat. It is equally sad if we can't applaud a great performance."
Coaches and official bodies aside, the matter has been professionally dealt with, at least on the surface, by some of Ye's competitors.
"I like to believe in innocent until proven guilty," Alicia Coutts of Australia said, adding, "As far as I'm concerned she's innocent and I think she's an amazing swimmer and it's just amazing to be as close as I was." The Australian took silver to Ye's gold in the 200m individual medley.
Some others, though, have made veiled statements, claiming that if true the incident would not be a surprise but refrained from making outright claims.
"I can't do anything about it," Amercian Caitlin Leverenz was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times, "That's USADA's and FINA's job, to do something about it. The Chinese have a history of doping in the past. I don't think people are wrong to point fingers. But I don't think that's my job."