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Shark mauls swimmer in Broome, WA


A man has died after being attacked by a shark off the famous Cable Beach at Broome in Western Australia’s north.

The 55-year-old man is understood to have been swimming alone when the shark mauled his thigh and bit off his hand just before 9am local time.

Emergency crews were called to the beach and CPR was carried out at the scene but the man, who is believed to be a Broome local, could not be saved.

“There was a very, very eerie feeling there, it’s not the feeling you usually have when you’re standing on this beautiful beach,” Broome Advertiser editor Jakeb Waddell told Perth’s 6PR radio station after visiting the scene.

The shark was shot after the fatal attack but was still alive, he said.

The beach has been closed by local rangers. People are being urged to take extra care around the area.

Broome is not believed to have had a fatal shark attack since 1993.

Cable Beach, which stretches 22km and is 2000km north of Perth, is one of Western Australia’s most popular tourist destinations.

The attack happened during the “off-season” and surf life savers finished their patrols at the beach last week.

Thousands of tourists descend upon the popular spot which is on the eastern Indian Ocean in the state’s north.

More to come



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Shayna Jack’s lawyer claims Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling proves Australian swimmer didn’t cheat


Shayna Jack’s lawyer says the Australian swimmer has reason to feel vindicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision to reduce her doping suspension to two years.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, whose functions are now operated by Sport Integrity Australia, had recommended Jack receive a four-year suspension after she tested positive to the banned substance Ligandrol last year.

The positive doping test had forced Jack to withdraw from Australia’s squad at the 2019 world swimming championships in South Korea.

Jack launched an appeal to the Swiss-based CAS, who last night ruled the result of the out-of-competition test showed the Commonwealth Games gold medallist had ingested Ligandrol but not intentionally in their view.

CAS imposed a reduced sanction of two years — commencing on the date of her provisional suspension (July 12, 2019) — meaning she will be free to return to competitive swimming next July but will miss Australia’s qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics.

Jack’s Brisbane-based lawyer Tim Fuller said the CAS ruling proved the 22-year-old was not a doping cheat.

“I think probably the thing that is most noteworthy about this case is the fact that the court has been very, very emphatic in saying there was no intent and intent is all about cheating,” he told the ABC.

“This is not somebody that set out to gain from the system. She was caught up in a situation that’s unexplainable.

“And that’s what the court — after an extensive and long-running investigation and hearing — has actually handed down.”

The Australian women's relay team holds their gold medals on the podium
Jack (left) won Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 as a member of Australia’s 4×100 metres freestyle relay team.(AAP: Darren England)

Mr Fuller said Jack was experiencing “mixed feelings” because she would not be eligible to qualify for the Olympics next year.

But he said she was encouraged that she would be able to resume her career.

“She can’t come back to competitive swimming until July next year,” Mr Fuller said.

Mr Fuller said CAS had recognised Jack’s honesty.

“One of the things that was noted in that decision was that she didn’t try to float these wild theories about how it got into her body,” he said.

“She just was up front and honest and said ‘I don’t know’ and that’s what the court’s ruled on.”

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Jack took to Instagram last night to express her relief following the ruling.

“I accept this decision with a positive attitude and with gratitude that my career as a swimmer will resume next year,” Jack wrote.

“I have never doubted myself for a minute throughout this ordeal and I have never allowed my integrity to be compromised.

Sport Integrity Australia released a statement on Monday night saying it remained satisfied that “it was appropriate to recommend a sanction of four years” based on the information available to the agency.

The agency’s chief executive David Sharpe said it would “consider the decision in greater detail before making any further comment”.

Sport Integrity Australia was given 21 days to lodge an appeal.

Jack was regarded as a rising star of Australian swimming prior to her positive doping test.

She was a member of Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team that set a world record at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

She also won two silver and two bronze medals in relays at the 2017 world championships in Budapest.



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Australian swimmer Shayna Jack banned for two years over doping


Australian swimmer Shayna Jack has been banned for two years for a doping violation.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed the result of a 2019 out-of-competition test showing Jack had ingested the banned substance Ligandrol, however the CAS said she did so accidentally.

The test became public when she was forced to withdraw from last year’s World Swimming Championship in South Korea.

She was provisionally banned for four years, but the court found that because she did not deliberately take the drug, the penalty would be halved.

She will be free to return to competitive swimming next July, but that will be too late for her to qualify for the Olympics.

In a statement, the CAS said a sole arbitrator found “on the balance of probabilities, that Shayna Jack did not intentionally ingest Ligandrol and considered that she had discharged her onus of proving that the anti-doping rule violation was not intentional”.

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack looks distressed amid a media pack.
Jack was initally banned for four years for having Ligandrol in her system.(AAP: Darren England)

Jack always maintained that she had not knowingly taken the drug.

Writing on Instagram on Monday night, she said she was innocent.

“The CAS have confirmed in emphatic terms that I did not intentionally, knowingly or recklessly use Ligandrol in any manner,” she wrote.

“I walk a little taller tonight with the fact that this ordeal is finally over.”

“There was no evidence produced by my accusers as to how this substance entered my system.”

“I have proven that I have NOT ever cheated, not used prohibited substances intentionally or knowingly.”

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Prior to Jack’s positive test, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority had issued a warning that the number of athletes caught with the drug in their system had jumped from two in 2015 to nine in 2017.

Anti-doping experts warned about the danger of unknowingly taking banned drugs in contaminated supplements.

“The anti-doping rules are far from satisfactory and can produce results that are far from fair,” Jack wrote on Instagram.

Jack said she would return to the sport.

“I am returning to swimming — the sport that I have loved all my life and the sport that I will cherish just that little bit more ongoing,” Jack wrote.

The court’s decision can be appealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency or world swimming’s governing body, FINA.

Jack’s case gained notoriety coming just days after Australian swimmer, Mack Horton, refused to stand on a podium in protest against Chinese Swimmer Sun Yang, who had been charged with an anti-doping violation but allowed to swim at the World Championships.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, now Sports Integrity Australia, was also criticised in some circles for the length of time it took to make its case.



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Australian Olympic swimmer Brenton Rickard returns positive drug test from 2012 London Games



Retired Australian swimmer Brenton Rickard has returned a positive drug test from a sample taken at the 2012 London Olympics.

The sample returned a positive result for the banned diuretic furosemide when it was re-tested recently.

The breaststroker will front the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland on Monday, where he will have to prove his innocence.

If he fails, the 2012 4×100 metre medley relay team that won bronze would be stripped of their medals.

More to come.



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Local News - Victoria

Swimmer found unresponsive in Melbourne’s inner suburbs


A 61-year-old swimmer has died after being found unresponsive at a public pool in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.

Emergency services were called to Fitzroy swimming pool, on Alexandra Parade, shortly after 10am on Friday.

A police officer and lifeguard seen through the fence of the Fitzroy pool following a reported drowning there today.

A police officer and lifeguard seen through the fence of the Fitzroy pool following a reported drowning there today.Credit:Harry Rekas

A police spokeswoman said paramedics worked on the man but he died at the scene.

The death is not being treated as suspicious. Police will now prepare a report for the coroner.

The 50-metre outdoor swimming pool reopened for lap swimming, water exercise and rehabilitation at the end of September when COVID-19 restrictions were eased in metropolitan Melbourne.

Currently, outdoor pool capacities are capped at 50 swimmers with hour-long session. Indoors pools remain closed.

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Twenty years on, swimmer Chris Fydler and broadcaster Gerry Collins recall a wonderful week in Sydney’s Olympic pool


It was the final race on night one of swimming at the Sydney Olympics, and as Australia’s Ian Thorpe made the final turn behind the US’s Gary Hall Jr with 50 to go in the 4x100m freestyle relay, the level of agitation was rising.

On the blocks at the other end of the pool, Chris Fydler and leadoff man Michael Klim — who had smashed the 100m world record by more than a second to give Australia the perfect start — were watching closely.

Twenty years later, Fydler still remembered his unease.

“At the turn, I remember turning to Michael and saying ‘do you think he can make that (gap) up, or is it too far?'” he recalled.

“We knew that Ian was going to be faster in the second 50. The question was, how much faster?”

The din inside the Sydney International Aquatic Centre was incredible, as the home crowd — already on cloud nine after Thorpe’s win in the 400m freestyle a little over an hour before — did their best to lift the roof off the venue.

The US had never lost a 4 x 100m freestyle relay at the Olympics, and Hall Jr had laid down a marker in the leadup to the Games, saying the Americans would “smash them [Australia] like guitars.”

No one at the venue that night had forgotten that message, least of all the Australian team.

“Gary was a fantastic athlete who always finished his races quite well, and was generally really fast on the way out,” Fydler said.

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“Even at the 25m mark, Ian still had quite a bit to catch up, but he was chasing and coming (home).

“With about 15m to go, we noticed that Gary had really started to shorten up (his stroke), that we thought there was a glimmer of hope — and that was all it was, it wasn’t ‘yeah, he’s got this!’ It was a glimmer of hope.

“It wasn’t really until his last couple of strokes that we could see him (Thorpe) coming, and he just had the momentum.

“Both Michael and I were leaning right over our blocks, and we saw his hand right in that last stroke just stretch out a hand-length in front of Gary to touch the wall.

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The impromptu demonstration of air guitar by the four Aussies on the blocks drew an even bigger roar from the crowd, and would become one of the memorable images of the Games.

Fydler had been to two previous Olympics — this was his swansong, as a veteran of the team. He’d seen it all before, and his calm nature was a boon to the team.

“I joined the team in 1989 — in ’88 in Seoul we didn’t even race the 4×1(00 freestyle relay), in ’92 we just made the final, and then by ’96 we came seventh but Michael and I had started to form the core of that team.

“By ’99, we actually beat the Americans in the Pan Pacific Games, in the 4×1. I had quite a bit of experience swimming relays by that time.”

On that night in the Olympic pool, the Australians put it all together, and Fydler said they had a right to be proud of their performance as a team.

“What we do is not particularly difficult, it’s a 100m freestyle [relay] — you swim two laps, right? [But] there is a great capacity there to make mistakes, and they can make the difference between winning a gold medal, or winning a bronze medal, or no medal at all.

“The other guy who did really well that night was Ash Callus. Michael [and I] had been to an Olympics, and Ian was an extraordinary athlete, but Ash was at his first Olympics, and I think it was his first 4×1 relay final that he had ever swum for Australia.

“And he put together a cracking race that was really faultless in the way he executed it.”

Cool and calm the veteran swimmer might be, but even he had been taken aback by the atmosphere at poolside.

“Nothing prepared me for Sydney and the energy that night.

Up in the commentary boxes high in the stands, there was a bit going on as well.

‘Best atmosphere I’ve ever seen’

GRANDSTAND 21ST - Gerry Collins
Gerry Collins covered six Olympics for ABC as a broadcaster, but night one of the swimming in Sydney was a highlight.(ABC Sport, file photo)

ABC Grandstand broadcaster Gerry Collins and the rest of the commentary team were thrilled with the way the Olympic swim meet began — starting with their location.

“[At Olympics] we were always almost in line with the finish. Either one, or two, or three or four metres at most away from the finish line,” he said.

“Up in the stands looking straight down on it. It was always a perfect position and in Sydney with Australia being hosts it helped with the [broadcast] position as well.

“NBC were near us, we had [Australian three-time Olympic medallist] Mark Stockwell as part of our commentary team, plus Norman May and myself.

“[Three-time Olympic gold medallist] Rowdy Gaines was commentating for NBC, and Mark and Rowdy had been great rivals, and they were stirring each other.

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Collins recalled the excitement in the air coming into the venue.

“Nobody was ready for that magic night of swimming. It was just extraordinary, starting with Ian Thorpe winning the 400 freestyle,” he said.

“Then with the men’s freestyle relay, where Thorpe was the anchor, but Klim broke the world record in the opening leg. The crowd was going berserk!

“That night was the best atmosphere I’ve ever seen, I’ve never heard a crowd make so much noise.

Building to Sydney

Fydler had been 12 years in the Australian swim team by the time of the Sydney Games.

He would go on to fill numerous roles in swimming, including with Swimming Australia, as well as being Deputy Chef de Mission for Australia at the London and Rio Games.

He has also been involved with FINA’s Disciplinary Panel, and is now president of Swimming NSW.

In his view, the way the Australian team built towards Sydney had a turning point in Atlanta, where the team received criticism for not meeting expectations.

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“We started to mature as a team after that [the Atlanta Olympics],” he said.

“Beyond ’96, the team began to get some additional firepower. So Michael Klim joined the team just before the Atlanta Olympics, Grant Hackett joined not long after, Ian Thorpe joined in 1997, and you start to see there’s a pretty good group of people.

“Sydney was also the last Games for people like Susie O’Neill and Matthew Dunn and Phil Rogers and Kieren Perkins, so we had the experience of people who had been around for a decade.

“Then we had the youth and talent of people like Klim, Hackett, Thorpe, Leisel Jones, etc, who could benefit from that calmness and that experience.

“Two Olympics was usually a pretty good run at that point, and then you kind of moved on with your life. But Sydney kept that longevity for a number of people.

A young Australian swimmer with a gold medal stands beside two other medallists at a world titles.
When a 15-year-old Ian Thorpe (C) broke the WR in winning the 400m freestyle world title in 1998, expectations went through the roof.(Reuters: David Gray)

Collins recalled the phenomenon of a teenage Ian Thorpe and the impact he had on the profile of the team — and the sport of swimming.

“Ian Thorpe won a world title in 1998 at age 15, then at 16 he broke the world record in the Pan Pacific Championships,” he said.

“Then, [before 2000] because the Olympics were coming all the Australian championships, World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships were held in Australia, they always opened with the 400m freestyle.

“Because the 400m was on the opening night, Thorpe would win the 400, and he’d break the world record. And immediately everyone in Australia wanted to know about him, and about the swimming championships.

“So that’s why the Australian swimmers themselves did such a great job of dragging the Australians in and saying ‘come and support us because we’re good!'” 

Olympics ups and downs

A man wears a gold jacket, sunglasses and three gold medals - a woman in a gold jacket leans in.
Susie O’Neill and Ian Thorpe both had disappointing races in Sydney, but they still managed success in the pool.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The upshot of that amazing opening night in the pool was even more raised expectations for the Australians in Sydney.

Not all those expectations were met, with Thorpe beaten by Dutch champion Pieter van den Hoogenband in the 200m freestyle, and ‘Madame Butterfly’, Susie O’Neill, taking silver behind American Misty Hyman in the 200m event.

“What came out of that first night was Michael Klim broke the WR in the 100m freestyle in the opening leg [of the relay],” Collins said.

“You thought — he can win the 100m freestyle — but he didn’t.

“We thought Ian Thorpe would win the 200m freestyle — but he didn’t.

“We thought Susie O’Neill would win the 200m butterfly, she was going for her second successive gold medal in that event. She didn’t win that, but she did go on to win the 200m freestyle — and we weren’t expecting her to win that.

Looking back on Sydney, Fydler didn’t feel the swim team was overly caught up in emotions — aside from the fallout from night one, where Klim and Thorpe found it difficult to back up for the 200 freestyle.

“My recollection though is that it was a very tight team — everyone understands that to win at an Olympics is really, really hard. You have to get everything right,” he said.

“Susie went up against Misty Hyman who swam out of her skin on that one night, and there was nothing that Susie could do about that.

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“For most of us who had been competing for a while, we recognise the great achievement of a gold.

Two swimmers have medals around their necks and Australian flags around their shoulders.
It was a changing of the guard in the 1,500m freestyle, with Grant Hackett beating countryman Kieren Perkins.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Fydler also pointed to success stories like Justin Norris, who boosted the team with his surprise bronze in the 200 metres butterfly, and the handover in the 1,500m freestyle where Grant Hackett took over from two-time champion Kieren Perkins.

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“It was hard to get disappointed for Kieren in silver, when Grant was a gold,” Fydler said.

“And there was the discovery of Leisel Jones at that meet, who went on to become an absolutely amazing athlete for Australia.

“While there may have been some personal disappointments, as a team I think we were delivering night after night and keeping everyone positive.”

Looking back on Sydney

The 20th anniversary of the Sydney Games has brought a wave of nostalgia, intensified by the scheduled Olympic celebration in Tokyo being postponed due to COVID-19.

Fydler said the team didn’t really comprehend what had happened at the time, although they enjoyed every minute of it.

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“It was monumental that Sydney had the Games … You recognise that piece of history, but not so much the performances.

“We remember some performances from other Olympic Games — in ’84 with Jon Sieben, and Duncan Armstrong in ’88.

“But there are a number of people and events that people remember from Sydney, and the fact that people are still interested in it all 20 years later is not something I would have contemplated at that time.”

Sydney was a first boost for Australian swimming, but it got better in succeeding Games.

In Athens four years later, Australia won seven golds in the pool, and six more in Beijing in 2008.

“The culture and the quality of athletes and coaches that we put together in that 90s decade really built a team that was successful then for another decade following,” Fydler said.

A group of female swimmers wave flowers while holding relay gold medals at the Athens Olympics.
Australia’s golden run from Sydney continued in Athens and Beijing as a new group of female swimmers began to dominate.(Reuters: David Gray)

“There was a transition that happened after 2000, but … it wasn’t just those big-name boys.

“At times in those early 2000s with people like Libby Trickett, Alice Mills, Jodie Henry and Steph Rice, we had at one point the top five 100 freestyle girls in the world (in Australia). 

“It was an incredible time for swimming in Australia post 2000 right through, there was great depth for at least a decade.”

Collins called his 10th Australian Olympic gold medal in Sydney — Lauren Burns’ taekwondo win. He would end up calling 23 Australian gold medal performances over his six Games.

“My first thought now is to shake my head, I can’t believe my life unfolded like it did and I got to do those things,” Collins said.

For Fydler, it wasn’t just the racing — although the memories of competition still fire him up. 

“It’s a cracking [relay race], and I’ve seen it a number of times, and it still makes me immensely proud,” he said.

“I still get goosebumps thinking about it as well. It wasn’t just us, the whole of Australia bought into these Olympics, and we all felt part of it, whether you were an athlete or a journalist or a spectator or someone watching at home, we all lived it.



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Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel surpasses men’s record for most English Channel crossings


Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel has crossed the English Channel for the 35th time — surpassing the men’s record for the most crossings from England to northern France.

The 35-year-old left Dover about 5:00am (AEST) before reaching France in 10 hours and 40 minutes.

Prior to the 35 kilometre swim, McCardel’s tally for Channel crossings was equal to British swimmer Kevin Murphy’s men’s record, which was set in 2006.

Her successful attempt means she has crossed the channel the second-most times of any swimmer.

McCardel, who has crossed the channel four times in the past few weeks, is still eight swims short of equalling Alison Streeter’s women’s record of 43 crossings.

The Melbourne-raised Sydneysider already holds multiple world records, including the longest unassisted ocean swim in the Bahamas.

She swam 124.4km to set that record in 2014.

McCardel attempted a quadruple crossing of the English Channel in 2017.

Chloe McCardel after swimming in Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay.
Chloe McCardel had been training in the depths of Melbourne’s winter.(ABC News: Guy Stayner, File Photo)

Prior to her latest attempt, McCardel said she was aiming to shine a light on the victims of domestic violence.

“I am so honoured to be setting off knowing that I am doing this for Australia,” she said.

“I’m hoping I can make everyone proud and inspire people back home.

“I’m also sending my thoughts out to everyone impacted by the COVID pandemic, especially those who have been or are currently cooped up in their homes, sometimes in extremely challenging environments, especially those who are experiencing domestic violence.

“Many might think that what I do needs superhuman strength but at one point in my life I was very vulnerable and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

McCardel was granted an exemption to leave Australia under COVID-19 restrictions, as her feat was deemed to be in the national interest.

French coronavirus restrictions mean she cannot interact with anybody on the shore before getting into a support boat for the return journey.

The Channel Swimming Association believes she will need to go into 14 days of quarantine when she returns to England, despite newly introduced regulations.



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China’s disgraced swimmer Sun Yang is starting to lose support as fans apologise to Mack Horton


Sun Yang, China’s first swimmer to snatch Olympic gold, appears to be losing domestic support after he was given an eight-year ban for tampering with a drug test.

At the same time, some supporters of China’s most-successful swimmer are changing their tune in online apologies to his arch-rival, Australian swimmer Mack Horton.

Horton, an Olympic gold medallist, made headlines last year when he refused to stand on a podium next to Sun.

The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed down the sentence against Sun in February, after an investigation found the three-time Olympic champion guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a visit to his home in September 2018.

While Sun lodged an appeal against the ban on April 29 with Switzerland’s highest court, the swimmer is beginning to see his once-fervent domestic support wane.

The South China Morning Post and local media reported that Sun’s official page on the Chinese platform Weibo has shed about 360,000 of followers over the past two months.

The embattled athlete — whose individual record is second only to that of Michael Phelps — still boasts some 33 million followers, but many Chinese social media users have piled on.

Another user said under the same post: “If Sun Yang is wrong, he must admit his wrongdoing and take responsibility for all the consequences, but there is currently no proof of him taking [banned] drugs.”

Chinese users purportedly apologise to Australia’s Horton

Australian swimmer Mack Horton (left) looks elsewhere while Sun Yang and Gabriele Detti hold up their world championship medals.
Mack Horton, left, staged a podium protest against Sun at last year’s FINA World Championships.(AP: Lee Jin-man)

Sun is the first man in swimming history to clinch Olympic and world championship gold medals at every freestyle distance between 200 metres and 1,500 metres, but questions about his record have been significantly amplified by Horton.

Horton labelled Sun a “drug cheat” at the Rio Games in 2016, referring to the Chinese athlete’s 2014 doping charge for a drug that has since been taken off the banned list.

In late April, Horton’s father, Andrew, told the Weekend Australian Magazine that their home was broken into a week after Mack’s comments.

He also said attacks on his business’s website stopped once traffic was stopped from China.

But it was three years later, at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, where tensions between two swimmers reached fever pitch: Horton refused to shake hands or share the podium with Sun, who had won gold in the 400-metre freestyle.

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Following Horton’s protest, Sun claimed the Australian had “disrespected China”.

At the time, Sun claimed that Horton had “disrespected China” with his protests, which sparked a torrent of abuse toward the Australian on Western and Chinese social media, in addition to threats made to Horton’s family in Melbourne.

They told the Weekend Australian their family home in Melbourne’s east had their plants and trees poisoned, while a “bucketload” of centimetre-thick glass shards were found in their backyard pool.

But in recent weeks, a trickle of comments of apology have appeared under Horton’s Instagram posts. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, however, they can be reached by some virtual private networks, VPNs.

One comment from a week ago read, “Apologies! Add oil” — a phrase used to express support — under an Instagram post from Horton where the Olympian is pictured shirtless.

Another, from March, read: “As a Chinese, on behalf myself, I want to say sorry to you. Hope you can forgive Chinese for what we had done to you. You are a man who is brave [and] strong. You truly are a warrior.”

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The ABC contacted Mack Horton but he did not reply to an interview request.

A hammer and a smartphone led to Sun’s demise

Sun’s entourage refused to hand over his blood vials following an incident where a member of the testing party, known as a doping control officer (DCA), was discovered taking non-consensual photos of the swimmer from behind.

Security footage from the clubhouse where the testing was carried out appears to confirm Sun’s statement that he asked to see the DCA’s mobile phone, then asked him to delete certain photos.

After the incident, Sun and his entourage claim they had asked for the accreditation of all of the three testing officers present, and found that only one of them had proper documentation.

CAS found that Sun offered to wait until a properly accredited team arrived, but the testing party did not take up the offer.

Sun Yang smiling and talking to a man in a suit while seated a the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Sun Yang was given the ban by CAS in February this year.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse)

Then it all began to unravel for Sun. On his instructions, one of his entourage used a hammer to break the glass container that held his blood samples.

The blood samples themselves weren’t destroyed in the altercation. They were taken by Sun’s entourage.

The investigation also revealed that the testing officers handed over the containers “under pressure” from Sun prior to the incident.

Sun later ripped up the test’s paperwork in front of the officers present.

It is believed the blood samples in question remain in the possession of the swimmer’s doctor Ba Zhen, however, CAS said they could no longer be tested as the “chain of custody was broken”.

While a final decision is yet to be made over Sun’s fate, it appears that China’s court of public opinion is beginning to turn against one of the country’s most decorated athletes.



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China’s disgraced swimmer Sun Yang is starting to lose support as fans apologise to Mack Horton


Sun Yang, China’s first swimmer to snatch Olympic gold, appears to be losing domestic support after he was given an eight-year ban for tampering with a drug test.

At the same time, some supporters of China’s most-successful swimmer are changing their tune in online apologies to his arch-rival, Australian swimmer Mack Horton.

Horton, an Olympic gold medallist, made headlines last year when he refused to stand on a podium next to Sun.

The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed down the sentence against Sun in February, after an investigation found the three-time Olympic champion guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors during a visit to his home in September 2018.

While Sun lodged an appeal against the ban on April 29 with Switzerland’s highest court, the swimmer is beginning to see his once-fervent domestic support wane.

The South China Morning Post and local media reported that Sun’s official page on the Chinese platform Weibo has shed about 360,000 of followers over the past two months.

The embattled athlete — whose individual record is second only to that of Michael Phelps — still boasts some 33 million followers, but many Chinese social media users have piled on.

Another user said under the same post: “If Sun Yang is wrong, he must admit his wrongdoing and take responsibility for all the consequences, but there is currently no proof of him taking [banned] drugs.”

Chinese users purportedly apologise to Australia’s Horton

Australian swimmer Mack Horton (left) looks elsewhere while Sun Yang and Gabriele Detti hold up their world championship medals.
Mack Horton, left, staged a podium protest against Sun at last year’s FINA World Championships.(AP: Lee Jin-man)

Sun is the first man in swimming history to clinch Olympic and world championship gold medals at every freestyle distance between 200 metres and 1,500 metres, but questions about his record have been significantly amplified by Horton.

Horton labelled Sun a “drug cheat” at the Rio Games in 2016, referring to the Chinese athlete’s 2014 doping charge for a drug that has since been taken off the banned list.

In late April, Horton’s father, Andrew, told the Weekend Australian Magazine that their home was broken into a week after Mack’s comments.

He also said attacks on his business’s website stopped once traffic was stopped from China.

But it was three years later, at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, where tensions between two swimmers reached fever pitch: Horton refused to shake hands or share the podium with Sun, who had won gold in the 400-metre freestyle.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Following Horton’s protest, Sun claimed the Australian had “disrespected China”.

At the time, Sun claimed that Horton had “disrespected China” with his protests, which sparked a torrent of abuse toward the Australian on Western and Chinese social media, in addition to threats made to Horton’s family in Melbourne.

They told the Weekend Australian their family home in Melbourne’s east had their plants and trees poisoned, while a “bucketload” of centimetre-thick glass shards were found in their backyard pool.

But in recent weeks, a trickle of comments of apology have appeared under Horton’s Instagram posts. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, however, they can be reached by some virtual private networks, VPNs.

One comment from a week ago read, “Apologies! Add oil” — a phrase used to express support — under an Instagram post from Horton where the Olympian is pictured shirtless.

Another, from March, read: “As a Chinese, on behalf myself, I want to say sorry to you. Hope you can forgive Chinese for what we had done to you. You are a man who is brave [and] strong. You truly are a warrior.”

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The ABC contacted Mack Horton but he did not reply to an interview request.

A hammer and a smartphone led to Sun’s demise

Sun’s entourage refused to hand over his blood vials following an incident where a member of the testing party, known as a doping control officer (DCA), was discovered taking non-consensual photos of the swimmer from behind.

Security footage from the clubhouse where the testing was carried out appears to confirm Sun’s statement that he asked to see the DCA’s mobile phone, then asked him to delete certain photos.

After the incident, Sun and his entourage claim they had asked for the accreditation of all of the three testing officers present, and found that only one of them had proper documentation.

CAS found that Sun offered to wait until a properly accredited team arrived, but the testing party did not take up the offer.

Sun Yang smiling and talking to a man in a suit while seated a the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Sun Yang was given the ban by CAS in February this year.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse)

Then it all began to unravel for Sun. On his instructions, one of his entourage used a hammer to break the glass container that held his blood samples.

The blood samples themselves weren’t destroyed in the altercation. They were taken by Sun’s entourage.

The investigation also revealed that the testing officers handed over the containers “under pressure” from Sun prior to the incident.

Sun later ripped up the test’s paperwork in front of the officers present.

It is believed the blood samples in question remain in the possession of the swimmer’s doctor Ba Zhen, however, CAS said they could no longer be tested as the “chain of custody was broken”.

While a final decision is yet to be made over Sun’s fate, it appears that China’s court of public opinion is beginning to turn against one of the country’s most decorated athletes.



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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang reportedly files appeal with Swiss court against 8-year doping ban


Banned Chinese swimmer Sun Yang has lodged an appeal at the Swiss Federal Court in a bid to overturn his eight-year suspension for doping, the Swimming World website has reported.

Sun was banned by the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in March after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed against a decision to clear him of wrongdoing during a 2018 doping test.

Swimming World said the three-time Olympic champion’s appeal had been registered by the Swiss Federal Court on April 29.

Reuters was unable to confirm with the court.

Sun, who was given a three-month ban for doping in 2014, said in March that he had retained a lawyer to appeal to the Swiss Federal Court.

The 28-year-old is the reigning world and Olympic champion in 200 metres freestyle and won two gold medals at the 2012 London Games and another at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

In his open court hearing last November, evidence was presented of how a security guard used a hammer to smash the casing around a vial of Sun’s blood.

FINA’s doping panel had cleared Sun of any wrongdoing in the incident but WADA appealed against that decision and CAS found against him.

Sun Yang holding his medal while Mack Horton looks away
Australian Mack Horton refused to stand on the podium with Sun Yang at the FINA World Championships last year.(Reuters: Kim Hong-Ji)

Sun, the first Chinese swimmer to win Olympic gold, has long been a polarising figure in the pool.

He came to the attention of Australians after Mack Horton led a protest against him at the Rio Olympics.

Horton and Scottish swimmer Duncan Scott refused to stand with Sun on medal podiums at the 2019 FINA World Championships in South Korea.

Reuters/ABC



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