Olympic Word of the Day 3: Unbelievable

Every day, we are taking a word that is being used about The London Olympics, explaining it and telling you how to use it. Some other words that may be new to you (highlighted in bold) will also have a definition in the vocabulary glossary at the bottom of the page.

Olympic Word of the day No#3 –


increíble, невероятно, incredibile, incroyable, 信じられない, unglaublich, inacreditável, 令人難以置信, لا يصدق, 믿을 수없는, niewiarygodny, απίστευτος, לא יאומן, hihetetlen


Not likely to be true; extraordinary; difficult to believe
Example: Usain Bolt ran the 100m in an unbelievable time at the last Olympics.

“it can not be true”, but also it can be used in a positive way like, “Wow, the singer has got an unbelievable voice!”… meaning ‘amazing in a good way’

Olympic Story

You may have read that a Chinese female swimmer, Ye Shiwen has been in incredible form at the Olympics. She broke the world record in the 400m medley and she even swam the last 50m of the race faster than the Ryan Lochte, who won the same event in the men’s race.

Plus, she is only 16.

Plus, she smashed her own personal best by 5 seconds.

It was definitely an out of this world performance and so suspicion has been raised by various commentators. Chief among them has been the top American Swimming Coach, John Leonard who said that Miss Ye’s time was unbelievable and disturbing. He added that, “Any time someone has looked like superwoman in the history of our sport they have later been found guilty of doping.”

In the 1990s, lots of Chinese swimmers were found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, so I presume that Leonard is thinking that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

What’s your opinion?

Should the swimming world be suspicious of this super fast world record?
Are people being racist, because this swimmer is not from the West?

Find out what our Olympic podcasters have to say on the subject

Vocabulary Glossary

to smash sth
here – to break a record by a large amount
out of this world
amazing, incredible, unbelievable
to raise suspicion
unusual, not normal
chief among them
the main person
performance enhancing drugs
steroids, doping
where there’s smoke, there’s fire
saying meaning, ‘If it looks like something is wrong, it probably is wrong’

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