Sun Yang Answers Questions About 1500 Free Withdrawal

Photo Courtesy: Maria Dobysheva

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Shortly after accepting his second-straight Male Swimmer of the Meet award at the FINA world championships, Sun Yang held a press conference to explain the reason behind his shocking withdrawal from the 1500 freestyle final. Sun was the two-time defending champion, and his absence left lane three open for the race.

Sun, 23, said he began feeling heart pain after winning the 800 freestyle on Wednesday, but did not feel the need to withdraw from the 1500 freestyle. He coasted through prelims of the 1500 on Saturday, qualifying third with a 14:55.11.

During the warmup for tonight’s 1500 free final, Sun said he was feeling the same pains in his chest, and made the decision on his own to pull out of the race. He did not give specifics on the time when he decided to withdraw from the race, saying through an interpreter, “I did not notice the (time).” Not notifying the proper people about his withdrawal left officials unable to notify first alternate Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands that he would be able to compete.

“I feel very sorry that I could not be in the 1500 freestyle competition,” he said, noting that this is the first time he’s experienced heart issues. But Sun received a three-month doping suspension for a banned substance inside his heart medication last year, suggesting there had been heart troubles before this week.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won the event with a European record 14:39.67. Sun offered his congratulations to Paltrinieri, saying “it was a very good performance today. I hope to practice, and I am waiting for the Olympic Games to compete together.”

Sun did not receive any medical treatment for his chest pain, but said he will when he returns to China tomorrow.

Sun nor his translator, who did not give his name but identified himself as a member of the Chinese team’s medical staff, would answer questions regarding a reported altercation with a Brazilian female swimmer earlier in the day. Reports indicate that Sun was in a lane with the unidentified swimmer and was unusually rough in attempting to pass her. This resulted in alleged blows between the two swimmers and an exchange of harsh words with Sun and a Brazilian official, who reported the incident to FINA. During the press conference, Sun’s translator said the alleged altercation and the withdrawal from the race were unrelated, and would not offer any comment on the incident.


  1. avatar
    Wynne Kirchner

    Wait a sec…if this is the first time Sun has experienced heart issues, then why on earth was he taking a medicine for heart issues? Basically he just admitted he used it for performance enhancing purposes.

    • avatar
      Lost in Translation

      Sun’s original words were that this was the first time he experienced such heart issues during major competitions and he has had several incidences during training in the past and he has been receiving treatments of sorts. Hope this helps.

  2. avatar

    would be interesting to get to know what the dispute with the chinese coaches was about. why sun was slapped into his face and why the chinese squad was eager about letting nobody into the locker rooms

  3. avatar
    C. M.

    Stupid americans are crazy and stupid: they don’t know difference between performance enhancing drugs like epo and common medicine. Stupid americans cannot accept the fact that we Chinese are good at swimming. It’s not your sport anymore: it will become a Chinese folk sport.

    • avatar

      C.M.: When you start out your argument with name-calling, it’s a sign you don’t have a good case, but I’ll bite anyway: Now, with a population 4x that of the USA it’s only a matter of time before they dominate swimming and other sports; and surprising and a little puzzling that they don’t dominate already. If China can’t eventually get there, then there’s something wrong with their system.

      But for today your statement “It’s not your sport anymore” is simply, laughably, wrong– despite arguably our worst World Championships since the history of the meet in 1973 (excluding the 1994 champs where many of the Chinese medalists were doped to the gills), the USA still won the team trophy today! And China was a distant 3rd. So it still is very much our sport for now, sorry.

      We can accept that Chinese are good at swimming, and congrats to all the other Chinese medal winners including the women’s 4×100 medley relay today, great swim ladies! It was a joy to see how happy they were, well-earned. What we can’t accept are unreported medication doping violations (one of our own swimmers gave up his Olympic medal for that back in 1972), no-shows for finals without scratching, (unprecedented in World Championships history) and unsportsmanlike conduct in or out of the pool– our own best swimmer Michael Phelps was suspended for this and as a result forfeited his spot on this very World Championships team.

      This isn’t about you, and it’s nothing against the Chinese in general. It’s about Sun Yang.

    • avatar

      So, not only do Chinese athletes cheat (remember your Olympic gymnastic team?), you’re also insulting. Perhaps this talk of cheating has struck a nerve!

      • avatar

        To be fair, the US leads the world in stripped Olympic Medals for cheating at 11.

        China is way behind with only 1.

        U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

  4. avatar
    C. M.

    Look: just focus on swimming, there’s simply too much politics involved and the brazilians are liars. I am a competive person myself and I would not like my competitors eliminated by stupid bans, but maybe I am wrong about other people’s mindset. Maybe they cannot compete and they are llking for dirty tricks.

    • avatar

      Hey C.M ,
      first you call the USA stupid and crazy. Now you call Brazilians Liars. Why this name calling? Please stop stereotyping.
      i can see how competitive you are based on your arguments.
      If you call such bans “stupid” then debate it with FACTS. Do you homework.

      Were you there at the poolside and see innocent Sun Yang getting bullied by the Brazilians you call lairs? Were you the one who administered the medication to Sun Yang? Do you posses relevant qualifications to identify which drugs are allowed which is not?
      The authorities have investigates and found such drugs in his system but gave him a lower punishment because they gave him the benefit of the doubt that he had taken it without knowing.

      The Chinese have contributed a lot of sporting greats and they have been a joy to watch. And their dedication to sports is not matched by many. The Chinese send their kids to sports classes at very young age. It is not surprising that this has contributed the performance.
      But sadly you have such talents but very poor sportsmanship.

  5. avatar
    C. M.

    The doping ban of the young Ning Zetao is the saddest case ever but americans want to elimate competitors by all means, maybe the mindset of americans is different. What happended to Ning wil never happen to an american and they ban him for picogram of clenbuterol.

  6. avatar
    Amanda Kang

    I just wanna clarify 3 things. First, Sun Yang has got heart conditions before 2008, and he’s been treating it for a long time. Second, the 3-month doping ban was actually due to the mistake that CHINADA didn’t update their drug list on time. So Sun Yang was not a cheater but actually a victim too. Third, the MVP is based solely on the points a swimmer acquired. As we all know the standard is that only individual events are calculated, gold equals 5 pts, silver 3 puts, bronze 2 pts, 4th 1pt, and one WR equals 2 pts. Thus Sun Yang got 13 points in total, Adam Peaty 12, Manaudou and Larkin both 10. So Sun Yang deserves MVP though he win with an extremely small margin. What’s more, I wanna ask if Jessica Hardy had performed well enough to win MVP after doping ban, would you say the same things that she’s also a “coward” and “cheater”?

  7. avatar

    watch him swim, if you have any knowledge of swimming you’ll notice that he is an amazing swimmer, bark all you want he deserved his medal