Horton wins gold after calling out Sun Yang as drug cheat

Mack Horton called Chinese swimmer Sun Yang a drug cheat, and then went out and dethroned the defending Olympic champion in the 400-meter freestyle.

Gabriele Detti of Italy, Conor Dwyer of the United States and Mack Horton of Australia compete in the Final of the Men's 400m Freestyle on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sun finished second.

After the preliminaries, Horton was asked about a reported incident between him and Sun at the practice pool earlier in the week. The Aussie said Sun “splashed me to say hello, and I didn’t respond because I don’t have time for drug cheats.”

In 2014, Sun served a three-month suspension for using a banned stimulant.

“The last 50 meters I was thinking about what I said and what would happen if he gets me here,” said Horton, who beat Sun by just 13-hundredths of a second. “I didn’t have a choice but to beat him.”

“I used the words drug cheat because he tested positive,” the Aussie said. “I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing.”

“I don’t think we need to care too much about what the Australian says,” Sun said through a translator. “I’ve got a gold medal (from 2012) and my world ranking. I don’t need to prove myself anymore.”

Still, Sun defended himself after the race.

“I am clean,” he said. “I’ve done whatever it takes to prove I’m a clean athlete.”

Sun described the last four years as being “tough,” in part because of mistakes he’s made.

In November 2013, he was caught driving without a license after an accident in China. At last year’s world championships in Russia, he was accused of an altercation with a female Brazilian swimmer in the warm-up pool and then he failed to show up for the 1,500 freestyle final.

“I’ve learned,” the 24-year-old Chinese swimmer said. “I know now to face up to failure and have a broader perspective.

Those are invaluable lessons to me. All those hard-learned lessons will guide me through the rest of my life. Being young, sometimes you can get a bit naughty. You don’t have a lot of common sense.”

Posted by on August 8, 2016. Filed under Sports World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.