Olympics Gold Medalist Sun Yang Receives Eight-Year Ban for Drug-Test Violations
The 28-year-old gold medalist will miss the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Sun Yang, one of the world’s best and most famous swimmers, might see his career end after receiving an eight-year ban from the sport following drug-testing violations. The ruling was handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday, and the ban will keep Sun out of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, as well as signaling a likely end to the career of the 28-year-old.
The ruling came as a result of a World Anti-Doping Agency complaint against Sun, following a decision by FINA, swimming’s governing body, to not punish him for failing to cooperate with drug testing in September 2018. As reported by the New York Times, Sun refused to provide a urine sample and had a security guard shatter his blood-sample vials when antidoping officials visited his home to test him.
The ruling by CAS, the highest court in international sports, found that Sun had no justification for his actions during that September 2018 incident:
The athlete failed to establish that he had a compelling justification to destroy his sample collection containers and forgo the doping control when, in his opinion, the collection protocol was not in compliance.
Sun stated to Chinese news agency Xinhua that he will appeal the ban, calling the ruling “unfair,” and asserting his innocence. This is not the first time he has been banned for doping; in 2014, the Chinese swimming agency banned him for three months after he tested positive for a recently banned substance.
Sun has won three Olympics gold medals in his career; two at the 2012 London Olympics, and the 200 meter freestyle gold medal four years ago in Rio. His ban is the highest-profile suspension handed down to a Chinese athlete since the 1990s, when 30 swimmers were found to have used banned substances.
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