BEIJING, China, December 11. ACCORDING to some local media reports out of China, Sun Yang’s head coach Zhu Zhigen has now added Chinese Olympic star Wu Peng as an assistant coach.
Wu, already a gifted swimmer in his own right with a silver medal in the 200 fly at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne and a bronze in the event in 2005, 2011 and 2013, just retired from competitive swimming and now has a chance to provide Sun more of a peer to work with while Sun works through his issues with the Chinese Swimming Federation.
As a bit of a refresher, after Sun became the first Chinese male gold medalist in London, he began to out-grow the Chinese Swimming Federation in terms of the spotlight he managed to gather around himself. That led to Sun continuing to push the boundaries of freedom from what is a pretty strict setup in China. His choice of girlfriends came under fire, and his decision to miss some training for other obligations also upset China.
This past summer, however, Sun demonstrated that he could still handle the load and compete at a high level, becoming the first Asian man to win World Swimmer of the Year honors after his distance freestyle sweep in Barcelona.
Sun likely would have continued on the same path within China, until a bus rear-ended him and the police discovered that Sun was driving without a license. This led to Sun spending a week in jail, and the Federation suspending him from all training, competition and endorsement obligations. He only recently has been allowed to return to training.
Some local pundits are hoping that Wu can provide a stabilizing force in Sun’s training camp as Sun ramps his in-water work back up before being allowed to compete again.