Michael Phelps won a 22nd Olympic gold but doping reared its ugly head again Friday as Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi and Bulgarian athlete Silvia Danekova became the first major cases of the Rio Games.
Chen’s failed test after narrowly missing a bronze medal in the women’s 100-metre butterfly was announced as athletics headed into the Olympic spotlight needing an antidote to its own doping scandals.
But track and field’s dented reputation was hit by the announcement that Danekova had failed a doping test of her own, with Bulgarian television saying she tested positive for the blood booster EPO.
The news came before the first track and field events of the Games on Friday, with three gold medals up for grabs at the Olympic stadium.
In the pool, Phelps was magnificent again in retaining his 200m individual medley title, leaving old rival Ryan Lochte stranded in fifth place. Even second place Kosuke Hagino was nearly two seconds back.
Afterwards, the 31-year-old waved four fingers to show his four gold medals so far in Rio. That has taken him to an incredible 22 Olympic titles and 26 medals overall.
“I say this a lot, but every single day I’m living a dream come true. As a kid I wanted to do something that no one had ever done before and I’m enjoying it,” said Phelps.
Simone Manuel of the United States and Penny Oleksiak of Canada shared a dead heat victory in the women’s 100m freestyle. Manuel is the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic swimming gold.
But the spotlight quickly turned to 18-year-old Chen, who won a world championship gold last year in the 4×100 medley team.