et another one of Sun Yang’s gold medals has been marred by a snub with British swimmer Duncan Scott refusing to stand on the podium beside the Chinese swimming star who remains mired in scandal.
Sun came in first in the 200m freestyle at the World Aquatics Championship in South Korea on Tuesday after Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys was disqualified for a false start.
At the medal podium afterward, Scott, who came in tied for third, refused to shake hands with Sun who started shouting angrily at him on the podium. When it was time for a group photo, Scott moved in the opposite direction from Sun.
As they were all leaving the stage, Sun caught up with Scott and had this to say with a smirk and shrug: “You’re a loser. I’m a winner, yeah?” Meanwhile, the crowd booed and jeered.
This follows Sunday’s drama where Australian swimmer Mack Horton, Yang’s arch-nemisis, refused to even climb onto the medal podium with Sun. Horton was reportedly greeted with cheers later at the athletes’ village for his decision, while Chinese net users have lashed out at him once again and the world’s swimming governing body, Fina, issued him a warning.
In this case, Fina has decided to send out warning letters to both Yang and Scott, calling their behavior “inadequate” and “not acceptable.”
Sun is China’s most successful swimmer, winning three Olympic gold medals, two in London and one in Rio, not to mention various other accolades including a slew of world titles. The 27-year has cultivated the image of an emotionally vulnerable bad body, contributing to his rock star status in his own country.
That emotional side was fully on display at the 2016 Rio Olympics where Sun just lost to Horton after Horton had called him a “drug cheat,” a reference to the three-month suspension Sun served in 2014 after testing positive for a stimulant called trimetazidine.
Now, Sun is facing a potential lifetime ban from swimming after allegedly smashing a vial of his blood with a hammer during a drug test last year.
Though Fina initially determined that it would “never know” the truth of what happeend and let Sun off with a fine, the case has since been picked up by the World Anti-Doping Agency which has referred it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
With the case hanging over him, some fellow swimmers argued that Sun shouldn’t even competing at the world swimming championships.
“He should be asking himself now should he really be in sport when the people were booing him, but I know how they are and I know how he is so…” Scott’s teammate Adam Peaty told reporters afterward.