Drugs Or No Drugs, Sun Yang Is Dripping With Arrogance
Look at that body language. Just look at it.
In the photo below, drug-tainted Chinese swimmer Sun Yang has just won the 200m freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
It's his second gold medal of the meet, having famously won the 400m freestyle -- after which Australia's silver medallist, Mack Horton, declined to share the podium with him.
But for now, let's get back to the 200m. Look at Sun's outstretched arms. Look at his triumphant, even defiant, facial expression as he stands in the pool.
Do you know what actually happened in that race?
Lithuanian swimmer Danas Rapsys was actually first to the wall, and by a comfortable margin too. But he was disqualified for a false start after the faintest bum wiggle on the blocks -- the rule says you must be completely still.
At that point, most people would offer some sort of gesture that effectively says "geez, that was lucky" or "that's the way it goes", or "oh well, I guess I'll still take it".
Not Sun. He's far less diplomatic than that. First he pulls out the "I am the greatest" arms. Then the "I can't hear you" fingers.
And then, incredibly, the "I am number one" finger, which the world plainly just saw he was not.
Seriously, most swimming people can't believe the Lithuanian was disqualified for the most nitpicking technicality. This really was a freakishly lucky gold medal for Sun.
Yet he celebrates like he's just smashed the opposition like guitars (to use an old Sydney 2000 Olympics swimming quote).
The sheer arrogance of the bloke is staggering.
But Sun is not done. Later on -- after British bronze medallist Duncan Scott does a Mack Horton and stands aside from the podium -- Sun confronts him, saying "You’re a loser, I’m a winner".
Could he actually be a worse sport?
Sun Yang was first banned for drug-taking in 2014, when his own swimming body handed him a three-month ban for taking a stimulant for a heart condition.
More recently, things got murkier, when vials of Sun's blood were smashed after a drug test.
This matter will soon go before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the fact that FINA still allowed Yang to compete at these championships is a large part of what Horton and others are angry about.
But forget, for a moment, anything to do with drugs. Irrespective of what he does or doesn't put into his body, Sun Yang has won few friends with his body language or behaviour at these championships.