Sun Yang is the most decorated Chinese swimmer in history and arguably the best freestyle swimmer in the world. Back in 2012, Sun Yang gained international prominence when he became the first Chinese athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in men’s swimming. In the years that followed, Sun continued to rule international swimming competitions, winning eleven world championship titles in addition to three gold medals at the Olympics.
Everything came crashing down, however, when Sun smashed vials of blood during a doping test in his home in 2018. The CAS then handed Sun an eight-year ban for interfering with the doping control procedure. In 2021, this was reduced to a four-year and three-month ban after the retrial of the case.
The Sun Yang Saga
With the ban officially starting in February 2020, this would mean that Sun would be released from the punishment in May 2024, around two months before the Paris Olympics commence. It also meant that, at that point, Sun would be 32 years old.
Asked about what he thought about this circumstance earlier this year, Sun Yang said he could last a few more years. He also said that a lot of athletes are still playing despite their age; he cited one of his role models in NBA, 38-year-old Lebron James, as an example.
New information from the Chinese Swimming Association, however, has suggested that despite being released from the ban, Sun wouldn’t still be able to join China’s team in the Games.
Why won’t Sun be in the Olympics?
In accordance with the standards established by the association, the swimmers will be selected based on their performances in three competitions: 2023 World Aquatics Championships held in Fukuoka, the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, and the Chinese Nationals meet, which is scheduled to take place in April 2024.
The criteria also state that athletes will not be eligible for selection if they have had a doping ban for more than a year.
And as Sun falls short of all the requirements needed to secure a berth, the Chinese swimmer won’t be able to join the Olympics.
Cover Photo: Wikipedia