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Swimmer Won't Share Podium With Winner

Australia's Mack Horton has accused China's Sun Yang of doping
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2019 9:40 AM CDT
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China's Sun Yang, center, holds up his gold medal as silver medalist Mack Horton of Australia, left, stands away from the podium after the men's 400-meter freestyle final at the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, on Sunday. The bronze medalist is Italy's Gabriele Detti, right.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(Newser) – Chinese swimmer Sun Yang edged Australia's Mack Horton to win a race at a world tournament in South Korea, but the real drama came afterward. Horton refused to share the podium with Sun, whom he has previously accused of sports doping, reports the Australian. Asked why he made the protest move, Horton replied, "Frustration. I think you know in what respect." Sun, for his part, said "disrespecting me was OK, but disrespecting China was unfortunate." The men have been rivals for years in the 400-meter freestyle, and the animosity between them reached a new level Sunday at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships.

Back in 2014, Sun received a three-month suspension when he tested positive for a banned substance, one he said he took for a heart condition, per the BBC. Two years later, Horton bested Sun in the Rio Olympics. "I don't have time or respect for drug cheats," he said of Sun in Rio. "I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing." Sun is now facing new trouble, and a possible ban from the 2020 Olympics, over a failed attempt by sports officials to obtain a valid blood sample last year. (The Australian has a separate story on that complicated controversy.) Meanwhile, the FINA swimming federation has issued a letter of warning to Horton over his podium decision, per SwimSwam. The letter says his protest was not conducted in the "right context." (Read more swimming stories.)

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