n a bizarre twist to the Sun Yang scandal, one of the three testers who visited the home of China’s most celebrated swimmer on a fateful night last year has come forward (anonymously) to Chinese state media to describe himself as a simple construction worker and not a trained professional Doping Control Assistant (DCA).
“I am a builder and I am always busy at work, day and night. No one ever trained me about the doping test, and it is unnecessary for me to undertake such training,” China’s Xinhua news agency quotes the man as saying.
According to the man, he was asked to provide temporary help for Sun’s drug test by the Doping Control Officer (DCO), who was his middle school classmate. The two had recently reunited at a middle school reunion dinner during Spring Festival earlier that year.
The man said that he picked up the DCO and the Blood Collection Assistant (BCA) at the railway station before driving over to Sun’s house where he watched the Olympic champion pee and was rendered starstruck.
Before we entered the test room, the DCO asked me to escort Sun into the bathroom. As my understanding, she was asking me to watch Sun Yang urinating. Because both of them were ladies, I agreed.
Sun is a big star in China and it was my first time being near him. I was excited. I took a couple of pictures outside the room with my cellphone. When I tried to take pictures of him again when we were sitting in the room, Sun told me not to do so.
Then he asked every one of us to identify ourselves. I showed my ID card. Sun pointed out that I was not an accredited tester and should not stay in the test room.
Afterward, he said that he left the test room and waited around in the hall where his friend came out to show him information on an iPad which was in English, a language he doesn’t understand.
“I did not know English and did not understand what was talking about. Then I gave the iPad back to her. I didn’t know what happened in the test room,” he told Xinhua. “I knew nothing about the doping test and nothing about my role that night. I just came to help my middle school classmate at her request. I am a builder.”
What did happen next was that Sun’s mom ordered his security guard to smash a box of vials containing the swimmer’s blood.
While FINA, the world swimming federation, looked into the incident and let Sun off with only a warning after determining that it would “never know” the truth of what had happened, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed that decision, aiming to get Sun banned from competition for two to eight years, a punishment that would at least cause him to miss the 2020 Olympics.
At a public hearing of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Montreux, Switzerland on Friday, Sun answered questions and declared his innocence, maintaining that the inspectors drawing blood and urine samples had failed to show proper identification papers.
The 10-hour-long session was marred by serious translation problems, eliciting frustration from lawyers on both sides as well as the judge. Meanwhile, Sun complained that none of the testers had shown up to the trial to give their testimony.
The DCA/builder told Xinhua he had agreed to give his recollections via video conference but that no one had contacted him.
While this story is unquestionably bizarre, it’s unclear if it will be enough to justify Sun’s team smashing his blood vials a hammer following a test. A ruling on the case will not be made until next year.
Sun is China’s most successful swimmer, winning three Olympic gold medals, two in London and one in Rio, to go with numerous other world championships and accolades. The 27-year-old has cultivated the image of an emotionally vulnerable bad boy, contributing to his rock star status in his own country.
In 2014, Sun secretively served a three-month suspension after testing positive for trimetazidine. The swimmer claimed that the stimulant had unknowingly got into his blood via a heart medication that he had been taking for years and was previously legal.
The suspension led to an epic feud two years later at the Rio Olympics with Australian swimmer Mack Horton publicly labeling Sun a “drug cheat.”
That feud was reignited earlier this year as Horton refused to stand on the medal podium with Sun at the World Aquatics Championship after coming in second to his Chinese rival. Later British swimmer Duncan Scott followed suit and snubbed Sun. As the two were walking off the stage, Sun told Scott, “You’re a loser. I’m a winner, yeah?