Disgraced Olympic Swimmer Sun Yang Hopes to Return to Competition After the End of the Doping Ban - Latest Global News

Disgraced Olympic Swimmer Sun Yang Hopes to Return to Competition After the End of the Doping Ban

Sun’s ban ends too late to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, but he says he will restart his swimming career.

Disgraced three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang hopes to return to competitive swimming “as soon as possible” after his four-year ban for a doping violation expires.

The Chinese freestyle swimmer was originally banned for eight years by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2020 for smashing blood samples during a test in 2018. He continues to deny the circumstances to this day. His ban from competitive swimming ended on Tuesday.

The ban was reduced to four years and three months on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2021.

“I hope to be able to choose a competition and get back on the starting block as soon as possible,” the 32-year-old said in an interview published by state media outlet The Paper.

Sun’s return comes at a time when China’s swimmers have been under intense scrutiny since it was revealed that WADA had cleared 23 of them to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics despite testing positive for a banned substance.

WADA accepted China’s explanation that the swimmers had unknowingly ingested the substance through food in their hotel.

For Sun, his return comes too late to compete in the Paris Olympics this summer, but he hinted that he has set longer-term goals.

“For me, the Olympics are just a competition. They will end at some point, and when they are over, there will be another one,” Sun said.

“Since I started training again, I’ve been taking part in simulated competition tests on a regular basis… I’m constantly trying to recapture that feeling,” he said.

The 2-meter-tall Sun became the first Chinese swimmer to win Olympic gold in the 400 and 1500 meters at the 2012 London Olympics, but he has long been considered controversial in that pool.

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, some rivals called him a cheat, and at the 2019 World Championships, two competitors refused to share the podium with him.

China’s Sun Yang (centre) holds up his gold medal while silver medalist Mack Horton (left) of Australia walks away from the podium in protest after the men’s 400m freestyle final at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

In 2014, Sun was also banned for three months after testing positive for a banned substance.

“I think I am very lucky compared to other athletes and I am very grateful,” Sun said, referring to his previous achievements, which include 11 gold medals at world championships from 2011 to 2019.

He said he felt “very gloomy” when he first learned of his second suspension, but the time away from the pool had given him the freedom to develop other interests.

“When I look back [on the past four years]I think it’s really no big deal,” Sun said.

“In fact, the biggest change in the last four years is that I have started a family and now have a second child,” he said, referring to his marriage to gymnast Zhang Doudou.

“These four years have added color to my life.”

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