Chinese Steroid Doctor Suspects Michael Phelps Used Steroids

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Chen Zhanghao, a former top physician for the Chinese Olympic team, told the international press that he has long suspected Michael Phelps of using anabolic steroids. But given the complete lack of evidence support such a suspicion, he has kept quiet until now. Zhanghao decided to break his silence after 16-year old Chinese swimming prodigy Ye Shewin was accused of steroid use by a prominent American swimming coach.

John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, compared the Chinese swimmer’s performance to previous Olympic athletes that have been linked to steroids. Leonard’s comments came after Shewin’s “abnormal” performance in the Olympic 400-meter individual medley. Shewin’s world record time included splits that were faster than some of the top American male swimmers.

“Abnormal?”, asked Zhanghao. “America’s Phelps broke seven world records! Is he normal?

Zhanghao pointed out that Leonard had no more evidence that Shewin used steroids than he had evidence that Phelps used steroids.

“I suspect Phelps, but without evidence, I have to recognise that we should be grounded in facts,” said Dr Chen. “The Americans have made many extraordinary performances but without evidence we have kept silent.”

Zhanghao knows a few things about anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and doping in the Olympics. The physician was the team doctor for the Chinese Olympic teams in Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona in 1984, 1988 and 1992, respectively. In an interview on the eve of the 2012 London Olympics, he actually admitted administering performance-enhancing drugs to approximately fifty Chinese athletes as the team physician.

Zhanghao pointed out that Chinese athletes were no better or worse than American athletes. He emphasized, perhaps justifying his role as a former steroid doctor for China, that elite athletes from all major countries competing in the Olympics use steroids and PEDs.

According to Zhanghao, the only difference is that Americans don’t like talking about their use of steroids and prefer to cast suspicion on other countries.


Garnaut, J. (July 31, 2012). ‘I suspect Phelps’: Chinese official hits back over Ye Shiwen speculation. Retrieved from