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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