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

4 Comments

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?”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

SWIM WORLDS: TV Schedule | Results

Justin Morneau nixes Olympic baseball qualifying return

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP with the Minnesota Twins, was taken off Canada’s Olympic baseball qualifying roster before he would have played his first competitive game in more than two years.

Morneau, 38, experienced an unspecified setback in training and was replaced on Canada’s roster for next month’s Premier12. The global tournament marks the first opportunity for many world baseball powers to qualify for the sport’s return to the Olympics.

Morneau never played in the Olympics before baseball was cut from the Games after 2008; active MLB players have never competed in the Games. But he was on Canada’s roster at all four World Baseball Classics from 2006 through 2017.

At November’s Premier12, the top nation from North and South America will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Japan and Israel are already qualified. Those that do not qualify will get another chance next year.

Morneau could become the second Major League Baseball MVP to play Olympic baseball as a medal sport. The other was Jason Giambi, who made the U.S. team in 1992, the same summer he was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Athletics.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Joe Girardi replaced as U.S. baseball manager by World Series champion

Kolohe Andino is first U.S. Olympic surfing qualifier; Kelly Slater faces last chance

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kolohe Andino is the first American to qualify for surfing’s Olympic debut, which leaves one spot left for 47-year-old Kelly Slater to chase at the final contest of the season.

Andino, a 25-year-old Californian whose first name means “rascal” in Hawaiian, clinched his place in Tokyo on Friday at the penultimate stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour in Portugal. He is ranked fifth in the world, trailing a trio of Brazilians.

One more American man will join Andino on the Olympic team. It will be one of Slater, the 11-time world champion, John John Florence, the 2016 and 2017 World champion, and rising 22-year-old Hawaiian Seth Moniz.

Slater was handed a golden opportunity to qualify when Florence announced in early July that he tore an ACL for the second time in 13 months. Florence had won two of the first five events this season.

Slater has been chasing the sidelined Florence in the standings ever since. But it has not been easy.

Slater hasn’t made the quarterfinals in any of his last seven contests going into December’s finale — the prestigious Billabong Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said in July, noting a back injury. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, who won the Pipe Masters seven times between 1992 and 2013, must reach the quarterfinals at this year’s event to have any chance of passing Florence to qualify for the Olympics.

Complicating matters: Florence said in August it was his “goal to get better for Pipeline in case I have to come back and compete and gain points,” according to ESPN.com. If Florence does return for the December contest, and makes the quarterfinals, Slater could only pass him with a victory.

Moniz goes into the finale ranked one spot behind Slater, meaning he, too, can grab that second and final Olympic spot with a win or a runner-up.

Slater, who turns 48 on Feb. 11, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, according to the OlyMADMen.

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!