We know that the Olympic Games is supposed to be about friendly, brotherly competition; a rare chance for the world to peacefully put aside all issues and enjoy the purity of human endeavour and athletic achievement.
But be damned if this on-going biff between Mack Horton and Sun Yang isn’t rich enough to spread on toast.
To recap: 20-year-old Australian Horton smoked Chinese superstar Sun in the final of the men’s 400m freestyle two days ago, claiming Australia’s first Olympic Gold Medal in the process. After the race, Horton used the term “drug cheat” in reference to Sun, and stated that there wasn’t a rivalry between the two as such, but a rivalry between Horton and “athletes who have tested positive.”
That barb was in reference to Sun’s extremely shady 2014 suspension over a positive test for the drug trimetazidine. Sun was banned by the Chinese Swimming Association for three months, in a suspension that wasn’t reported to WADA or FINA until after it had been completed, sparking a remarkable shitstorm that resulted in Sun being banned from training in Australia, among other sanctions.
The positive test, reportedly, was due to a prescribed drug used to treat heart palpitations brought by an underlying cardiovascular condition called angina pectoris. The condition (at least appears) to be genuine, and has caused Sun to withdraw from events on multiple occasions, citing chest pain and palpitations.
In 2014 trimetazidine was classified as a stimulant and listed on WADA‘s S6 category of substances prohibited in-competition. Chinese criticism of Horton’s comments has asserted that the drug was only added to the WADA list five months prior to the positive test, and has since been re-classified, which is all true. HOWEVER, it was reclassified in 2015 as a metabolic modulator, and is still currently a banned in-competition substance under WADA category S4.
So, y’know, the illegal drug is still an illegal drug, at least as far as athletic competition is concerned.
Now that we’ve got that business out of the way, here comes the good shit.
The Chinese Swimming Association and Chinese State Media are fucking furious about Mack’s comments, and are even shittier over Australia’s continual official response of ¯_( : / )_/¯.
Chinese media outlet Global Times today posted an utterly glorious English op-ed dragging us as entire country, even resorting to the ages-old convict barbs to try and rustle our jimmies.
Some of the choice quotes from the diatribe read as follows:
“The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) has called its Australian counterpart, to demand Australian swimmer Mack Horton apologize to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, against whom Horton initiated a personal attack. To no one’s surprise, the Australian side declined, saying Horton “is entitled to express a point of view.”
“The CSA’s protest is a consolation for Sun, and the one voice from the Chinese media and public backing Sun shows the unity of Chinese society and the people’s human touch.
Horton won the first gold medal for Australia at the Rio Olympics, and has become a hero for the country. It is understandable if Swimming Australia finds it difficult to teach him a lesson right now for his rude and irresponsible words.”
“The focus of the squabble will go beyond Horton’s ill manners and silliness. The whole level of Australia’s awareness of sports ethics and glory is as low as that of a young and brash kid.”
“From China’s perspective, Australia, an English-speaking and developed country, is a typical part of the Western world. But actually, Australia has always been a “second-class citizen” in the West, and many people from Western Europe, especially the UK, feel condescension toward Australians.”
“Australia used to be a land populated by the UK’s unwanted criminals, and this remains a stigma attached to Australian culture.
Eager to be completely accepted by the Western world and afraid of being overlooked, Australia has grown docile and obedient in face of the US and the UK.”
“We don’t have to take seriously the tinge of barbarism that comes out of some Australians, nor should we pay keen attention to some vindictive provocations. China cannot be distracted from its own path of development, so it should turn a blind eye to what should be despised.
Horton and his backers represent the dark side of Australian society, and it is time for us to look at the bright side of the Olympic Games. This trifling botheration won’t ruin our beautiful memories of this grand event.”
Oh man. This whole thing. It is gold medal-worthy in and of itself. Aussie swimmer says gold, casually mentions a documented true thing that really happened, entire country flips its shit.
Horton and Sun are due to face each other again this coming weekend in the men’s 1500m freestyle. We’re expecting blood.
Source: Global Times.
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty.