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Swimmer Katie Ledecky on athlete doping scandals: "I think our faith in some of the systems is at an all-time low"

Olympian Katie Ledecky on athlete doping scandals
Olympian Katie Ledecky on athlete doping scandals 00:25

Team USA swimming star Katie Ledecky, who has more individual Olympic gold medals than any other woman swimmer in history, reacted to a recent report of Chinese swimmers having tested positive for controlled substances before the 2021 Tokyo Games, telling "CBS News Sunday Morning" that she hopes for "some accountability."

In April, The New York Times reported 23 Chinese swimmers, including two who competed directly against Ledecky and her teammates, had tested positive for a banned substance just seven months before the Tokyo Games.

Chinese officials say the swimmers inadvertently ate contaminated food. The World Anti-Doping Agency reportedly declined to take action, even though it appears its own rules should have prohibited those swimmers from competing.

In an interview with correspondent Elaine Quijano to be broadcast on "CBS News Sunday Morning" and streamed on Paramount+ June 2, Ledecky said, "In this instance, it doesn't seem like everything was followed to a T. So, I'd like to see some accountability here. I'd like to see some answers as to why this happened the way it did. And I'd really like to see that steps are taken for the future so that we can regain some confidence in the global system."

Asked whether she believes the results of the 2021 Games need to be reexamined or rescinded, Ledecky replied, "I mean, I think the whole case has to be reexamined independently and thoroughly and all the information needs to be out there."

Ledecky (whose new book, "Just Add Water: My Swimming Life," will be published June 11) won her first Olympic gold at age 15, and has earned seven gold and three silver medals, from the London, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Games. She is currently preparing to compete in the Paris Olympic Games, which begin in July.

"It's hard going into Paris knowing that we're gonna be racing some of these athletes," she said. "And I think our faith in some of the systems is at an all-time low. You try not to think too much about when you're actually racing. And the best thing to do is to just go out there and try to win.

"It's tough when you have in the back of your head that it's not necessarily an even playing field," she said. 

In a statement provided to CBS News, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said they it reviewed this case three years ago "with all reasonable doubt and skepticism. As we relentlessly sought the truth, what we found was compelling scientific evidence that pointed exclusively to the fact that this was a case of no-fault contamination and not doping. We understand athletes' skepticism because, frankly, we felt the same way. However, despite that skepticism, we were willing to accept this was contamination because the evidence for any other explanation was non-existent. Still to this day, no evidence has emerged that would lead us to change our view on that."

It added, "An entirely independent prosecutor, with full access to all the files and any expert he chooses, is now reviewing WADA's handling of the case."

Watch a preview of Katie Ledecky's interview by clicking on the video above. 

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