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Hundreds of elite Chinese athletes have settled into their pre-Olympic routines at a training camp in Leeds, 200 miles north of London.
There are two pools, special dining halls with authentic Chinese food, Mandarin-speaking volunteers, even a recently built field hockey pitch of the same blue color that will be used in the Games.
Preparation is everything now, especially for the swimmers, who are “tapering” — dialing down the rigor of their workouts before the Olympics officially begin on Friday.
What the Chinese hadn’t prepared for was Declan Crosbie.
Three of China’s elite female swimmers were in a locker room at a university pool last week when they noticed a man inside a locked toilet stall, peering over the top of the stall at them. The swimmers alerted a pool manager and a security guard who asked the occupant to come out.
“When they challenged him, he answered in a lady’s voice,” said Karen Williams, a local prosecutor.
When he emerged, the man was “dressed smartly” — unless you count his fly being open. He fled the scene but was later arrested.
Mr. Crosbie, 25, from Leeds, pleaded guilty to trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offense and will be sentenced next month. British media reports say he has been on the Registered Sex Offenders list due to previous convictions for climbing onto a roof to film a woman taking a shower and “peering at women under leisure center cubicles,” according to The Telegraph newspaper. He was also jailed after “he was found inside a house standing over a sleeping woman” with his trousers down.
The story was the most searched item last Friday on Baidu, China’s largest search engine.
The Chinese athletes are being housed in dormitories at the University of Leeds, and the state-run newspaper China Daily reported that the Olympians were not permitted to leave the campus by themselves. They are also forbidden to drink tap water.
Food, meanwhile, has been less of a problem in Leeds than it was back home.
Coaches and team officials are so worried about steroidal contamination of meat in China — especially pork, a staple of the Chinese diet — that many athletes have been barred from eating in restaurants. The use of the steroid clenbuterol, widely used in China to fatten up pigs and cows, is believed to have caused positive drug tests.
The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a clenbuterol-in-meat advisory to international teams and athletes, specifically citing China. On its list of banned substances, the oversight agency has a “zero threshold” for the anabolic agent, meaning even a trace amount in a drug test can lead to a suspension or ban.
The most notorious clenbuterol case in China was that of the heavyweight judo athlete Tong Wen, a gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics and a four-time world champion. She tested positive at the 2009 world championships and was hit with a two-year suspension the following year.
That ban was overturned on procedural grounds by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the ultimate arbiter of such cases. (Now free of her suspension, Ms. Tong will compete in London and has promised to “sweep aside all the rivals.”)
There appeared to be little doubt that Ms. Tong had tested positive. Her “A sample,” the first of her two urine samples, came up dirty. Her ban was overturned because she hadn’t been told she could be present when her “B sample” was tested, a breach of drug-testing protocol.
In a plea for leniency to the Chinese Judo Association, she said she “went for barbeque with some friends in the informal restaurant nearby my home in a few weekends before attending the Rotterdam World Championships. As I am bigger category, I like meat very much. I eat a lot of pork.”