The Week That Was: Sun Yang Handed Eight Year Ban; Hosszu, Le Clos, Sjostrom Weigh In on Coronavirus

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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Chinese freestyler Sun Yang was the subject of controversy all last week as he received an eight year ban effective immediately for his role in tampering of a doping sample in September 2018. Athletes all around the world who have advocated for clean sport and those who protested against his presence at the 2019 World Championships applauded the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The coronavirus outbreak continued to dominate headlines in world sport as we inch closer to the Tokyo Olympic Games. We have 145 days until the Games begin and threats of cancellation have swirled around the world, scaring some elite athletes who have dedicated their lives to those two weeks in hope of Olympic glory. Swimming superstars Katinka HosszuSarah Sjostrom and Chad Le Clos have weighed in to the Associated Press on the matter.

Read below the five biggest stories in the Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #5: Jake Mitchell Breaks National Public School Record in 500 Free

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross

Carmel High School’s Jake Mitchell broke the national public school record in the 500 freestyle on Saturday at the Indiana Boys High School State Championships in Indianapolis as he swam a 4:14.68. The time broke Jake Magahey’s 4:15 from last season as that was a historic swim in itself, lowering the oldest public school record at the time that was broken in the 80s by current Minnesota coach Jeff Kostoff.

Mitchell also broke his own state record in the 500 freestyle that he set last year at 4:16.72.

#4: Swimmers Concerned About Threat of Cancelling Olympics

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Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Dan D’Addona

Some of the top swimmers in the world are speaking about the concerns of the coronavirus and its affect on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After all, Olympic athletes train for four years for this stage, and that could be taken away if the coronavirus is still a deadly factor around the world.

More than 80,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus and more than 2,700 killed since the outbreak began in China. Most of the deaths have come in China, but five deaths in Japan have been attributed to the coronavirus as it has spread to other countries around the world.

Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Dick Pound said earlier this week that the Olympics could be canceled if the coronavirus isn’t contained within three months of the games, which are scheduled to begin on July 24.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú, South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström spoke with The Associated Press about it Wednesday.

“Of course, it’s definitely on my mind,” Sjöström told the AP. “We are reminded about it every day. I read the news. It’s a bit scary.”

“I see the news, but in my mind I’m prepared until it’s on. So I have to be ready,” Hosszú told the AP. “I really can’t even imagine having the Olympics canceled. For athletes, it’s a nightmare. That’s our life — preparing for the biggest event in swimming.”

“We have to just not shake too many hands, not touch too much stuff,” le Clos told the AP. “It’s a terrible thing that’s happened. Hopefully it can get cured soon and we’re going to proceed to the Olympics.”

The Week That Was #3: Filippo Magnini’s Four-Year Ban Dropped

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Archive

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Filippo Magnini, the 2005 and 2007 World 100m freestyle champion from Italy, has been given a clean bill of health by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A four-year ban imposed by the Italian National Anti-Doping Agency has been dropped.

Magnini became embroiled in his case via action taken against a doctor who was banned from sport. After the CAS verdict came in, Magnini posted on Instagram:

“The CAS acquitted me from any kind of accusation. It has always been like this, I have always won races in the last few meters. They taught me never to give up. I have always been an athlete and a correct person. I tremble with joy.”

#2: Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, Mack Horton Respond Positively to Sun Yang Ruling

(L-R) Second placed Mack Horton of Australia keeps his distance to winner Yang Sun of China while they pose with their medals for photographers after competing in the men's 400m Freestyle Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 21 July 2019. Gabriele Detti of Italy finishes third.

Mack Horton, left, keeps his distance to Sun Yang for the photo-op with bronze medallist Gabriele Detti after medals in the 400m free at world titles in Gwangju … podium protests followed after Sun Yang’s latest brush with anti-doping authorities – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

By Liz Byrnes & Ian Hanson

Adam Peaty has welcomed the news of Sun Yang‘s eight-year ban after the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced their verdict.

The Olympic 100m breaststroke champion told Swimming World:

“Very good. For anyone that’s been banned once, potentially it’s a mistake. The odds are yeah – you could have taken any supplement or whatever.

“You’re looking at it twice – you’re a fool. I believe that you’re disrespecting the sport, you’re disrespecting yourself and you’re disrespecting your country.”

He later released a statement, saying:

“I’m pleased with today’s verdict.  I trust in CAS and WADA to uphold the values in the sport and I believe a ban was the right decision.  I feel strongly about clean sport and I feel a responsibility as an athlete to be true to myself, my sport, my country and the next generation of athletes who look to us for inspiration.”

Duncan Scott, who refused to share a podium with Sun Yang at last year’s World Championships, has reacted to the eight-year ban handed to the Chinese on Friday by welcoming the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On Friday, Scott issued a statement that read:

“I fully respect and support the decision that has been made and announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this morning.

“I believe in clean sport and a level playing field for all athletes and I trust in CAS and WADA to uphold these values.”

A simple sentence from Mack Horton said it all and kept a lid on all of the reaction. “My stance has always been for clean sport. It is not, and never will be about individuals or nations. Today’s outcome does not change my stance.”

The Week That Was #1: Sun Yang Handed Eight Year Ban

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Sun Yang – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Craig Lord, Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

Sun Yang ‘s swimming career is over. In a damning judgment, a panel of three senior judges at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed the Chinese Olympic champion an eight-year ban. The penalty is not backdated and starts this day, ruling Sun out of the defence of the 200m freestyle title at Tokyo 2020.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed the ruling saying that it “confirms those concerns and is a significant result”.

That rang true for the testing team that visited Sun’s home in September 2018 only to be met with refusal and, from some of Sun’s entourage, threats, and those who have made a stand against not only Sun but the circumstances and organizations perceived to have given him a lenient, easy ride and even helped to protect him.

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