So, we’re likely all caught up on Australia‘s first Gold medallist at the Rio Olympics, Mack Horton, making a ever-so-slight sleight at Chinese swimmer Sun Yang during the 400-metre freestyle – our boy called Sun a ‘drug cheat’.
Then, while sitting next to Sun in the post-race press conference, Horton told the practically drooling press, “I used the word ‘drug cheat’ because he tested positive” – a reference to his competitor being disqualified in 2014 for using a stimulant.
Ever since, Horton has been on the receiving end of some pretty gnarly Weibo & Twitter abuse, as well as being the subject of some rather hectic op-eds in Chinese media.
Everyone’s been wondering if the Mack would crack and apologise, but Australian chef de mission Kitty Chiller – who should win some kind of gold medal for the World’s Greatest Name – has spoke and said Horton won’t be apologising.
“Mack obviously has very strong views about the need for clean sport, as every single one of us does. He has every right to express his views and his displeasure in that sense.
We have no intention of making an apology.”
A number of other Aussie Olympic athletes have also stood behind Horton, including trap shooting gold medallist Catherine Skinner and bronze-winning divers Maddison Keeney and Annabelle Smith.
Keeney told press,
“I’m all for clean sport. Everyone should have an equal playing field. I support Mack. I’m with him all the way.”
Chiller said that despite all the attacks from Chinese media – who have described him as having “a lack of good manners and upbringing” – she didn’t think Horton was fazed:
“Mack is in a pretty good place. He’s got probably his best event coming up in a few days and I know he, like all the swimmers, are focused on their own event, their own lane,” she said.
“I would hazard a guess that it wouldn’t affect him at all.”
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty.
Photo: Xavier Laine / Getty.