Sun Yang, after win by DQ, gets in rival’s face after another podium protest

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Controversy continues to follow Chinese swimmer Sun Yang at the world championships.

Sun, after being upgraded to 200m freestyle gold following another swimmer’s false-start DQ, got into the face of co-bronze medalist Duncan Scott after the Brit did not shake his hand at the medal ceremony Tuesday.

Sun, who earned his 11th individual world title to move to No. 2 all time behind Michael Phelps, shouted in Scott’s direction before the Chinese anthem. Sun later turned around as they left the podium, approached Scott and told him, “You’re a loser, I’m a winner,” pointing a finger in his face.

Scott did not appear to react strongly, but he did not join Sun and the other medalists for photos on the podium.

The scene was reminiscent of Sunday, when Australian silver medalist Mack Horton refused to stand on the podium with gold medalist Sun after the 400m freestyle. Horton called Sun “a drug cheat” after he beat the Chinese at the Rio Olympics. Sun did not openly shout or finger-point at Horton, though.

“I’m team Mack,” Scott said, according to the BBC. “If [Sun] can’t respect our sport then why should I respect him? I think a lot of people, everyone in swimming, got behind what Mack did.

“Hopefully this will happen in more events.”

Sun repeated as 200m free world champion after Lithuanian Danas Rapsys, who touched the wall first, was disqualified for twitching on the starting block.

Sun faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in September over reports that he and his security guard used a hammer to smash a vial of the swimmer’s blood in a clash with drug testers last September.

FINA gave Sun a warning after the incident. The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed in March to CAS, seeking a stricter punishment, but some swimmers, including outspoken American Lilly King, were dismayed to see the hearing set for after worlds.

“FINA has currently done more to reprimand Mack Horton than they have done to reprimand Sun Yang,” King said Tuesday after beating Russian rival Yuliya Efimova in the 100m breaststroke.

Sun was also suspended three months in 2014 for a banned stimulant, though the punishment wasn’t announced by Chinese officials until after he served the time. That led to Horton’s comments at the Rio Olympics.

British breaststroke star Adam Peaty said Scott was “completely right” and that he, too, would not stand on the podium with Sun.

“If people are booing him, it’s for a reason,” Peaty said. “[Sun] should be asking himself now, should he be really in the sport when people are booing him?”

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Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“It doesn’t beat doing it here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “No secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native and former Dartmouth student had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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