FINA Reportedly Threatens Bans and Revocation of Medals Over Podium Protests


As part of fallout from Mack Horton‘s protest of Sun Yang during the 400 free podium ceremony on the first night of the 2019 FINA World Championships, and Duncan Scott‘s ensuing run-in with Sun on the 200 free podium, FINA has issued a new Code of Conduct provision entitled “rules of conduct during the competition,” according to The Australian. 

The international governing body for aquatic sports reportedly distributed a memo Tuesday night in Gwangju stating that athletes can receive a ban or lose their medal if they engage in “any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour” at the podium.

“The competitors shall actively participate in the full conduct of the competition including victory ceremonies and, if applicable, presentations and or press conferences,” the memo says, reportedly. “They shall strictly avoid any offensive or improper behaviour towards the officials, the other competitors, the team members and/or the spectators during the entire conduct of the competition. Any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour is strictly prohibited.”

The memo was given out when Sun still had another possible individual podium ceremony opportunity forthcoming, but he finished sixth in his final solo event, the 800 free. He will more than likely swim on China’s 4×200 free relay, however.

FINA first issued a warning letter to Horton after he refused to take the podium during the playing of China’s National anthem Sunday night, then sent the same to Scott and Sun after the two had a confrontation Monday, and Scott refused to take pictures with the other medal winners.

That warning cited FINA Constitution Rule C 12.1.3, which reads that “Any Member, member of a Member, or individual member of a Member may be sanctioned for bringing the Aquatic sport and/or FINA into disrepute.” Possible sanctions appear to begin with a warning, then another offense would lead to a fine, then another a suspension, and then another “expulsion.”

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m d e
1 year ago

Any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour is strictly prohibited.

It was not any of those things.

Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

It was either not any of those things, or if you jam it into “political” behavior, then there’s a whole lot of things that will fit that overly-broad definition, which is going to create a serious problem.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

What FINA does in the result of Sun Yang’s hearing will be everything. This is the same body that barred a water polo for 4 years because they couldn’t locate him for 24 hours after he went on a pub crawl the night before after a competition. Yang destroyed samples to avoid an alike spot test. If he keeps these medals & gets to Tokyo, it’s only going to go worse & get uglier at the Olympics next year. The IOC doesn’t need or want it, FINA’s overlords might not want the bad look of it threatening their agency over the sports of swimming, diving & water polo. The IOC might have no choice but to blow out FINA &… Read more »

sun is hero
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 year ago

are you fool?

Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

So like can an athlete be suspended for doing the sign of the cross. Just wondering because things like that are going to happen often and a broad definition let’s them pick and choose who they want to punish

Running start to touch backstroke flags
Reply to  Carlos
1 year ago

Sign of the cross is offensive to non-religious people grounded in reality…

Michael Schwartz
Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

I know a pair of USA sprinting men who might take issue with the religious aspect of this. And does this mean that the Russian swimmers who have been wearing cross necklaces during their reaches that I’ve seeing will be barred from competition? Or they just can’t wear them during the medal ceremony? What if somebody has a religious tattoo? Are they forced to cover it up?

Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

I am wondering why ppl like to make a scene on podium when they have 1000 other ways to make a protest. It just disrespectful towards host/other nation’s flag/anthem. Of course it is not illegal but should not be encouraged.

Please and thank you
Reply to  oreally
1 year ago

Just be sure to let everyone know the 1000 other ways that are the right ways to protest. Wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable.

Justin Thompson
Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

It’s a good lesson that comes back around in a cyclical fashion. Never let your governing body have to much power or you see mass corruption and results in a negative impact on those who they govern.

m d e
1 year ago

This is actually nuts. Trying to put out a fire with petrol.

Here Comes Lezak
Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

Everybody knows the first rule of not making a big deal out of something is too overact to said thing, as to not bring too much attention to it.

Reply to  m d e
1 year ago

A fire FINA started.

1 year ago

FINA is a joke

Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

Then don’t participate in any FINA competitions. If you participated, then you agreed with the rules.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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