Horton Received 500,000 Angry Comments on One Instagram Post

The feud between distance freestylers Australian Mack Horton and Sun Yang of China garnered a lot of attention during the first week in Rio the evidence of that can be found on Horton’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. It has been reported by the Daily Mail that Horton received half a million angry comments on one of his Instagram posts.

Horton said that the response affected his social media accounts, but not his focus or performance in Rio, “It affected my social media more than it affected me. I had 500,000 comments on one of my Instagram photos and it was just all hate from Chinese people,” Horton told Channel 7.

“I was aware of it, but I didn’t let it distract me during the week.”

The reaction of the Chinese public came after Horton called Sun, who is one of the most popular athletes in China, a drug cheat referring to a positive drug test in 2014. To add insult to injury Horton went on to defeat the Olympic champion in the 400 freestyle by 13 one-hundredths of a second. A defeat that Sun did not handle well.


Below are a few examples of tweets that Horton has received.





In an interview on SEN Breakfast Horton said he hoped that the reaction would help clean up the sport, “(I was) not shocked (by the reaction), I think it was actually a good thing, trying to promote clean sport,” said Horton.

“If this is the reaction and it gets clean sport out in the air amongst athletes, then that’s a good thing.”

“I don’t think it was a distraction I just focused back in on the processes that were required to get on with the week.”

Before Rio the only time the two had faced off against each other at a major international competition was in the 800 freestyle at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan. Sun took the event in a time of 7:39.96 while Horton finished third in a time of 7:44.02.

The feud between the two began when Sun was accused of trying to disrupt one of Horton’s training sessions leading up to the swimming events in Rio began.

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I’m crying too watching that video of Sun.

And by that I mean I’m laughing uncontrollably.


Be nice if article showed hortons original post. Sorry if I missed it in the article

Zika Ziki

Horton never posted on instagram that Sun Yang is a drug cheat.
In answer given in an interview conducted just before the first day on why he ignored Sun Yang during the splashy incident, Horton simply said that he didn’t have time for someone who tested positive to banned substance. He was factually correct.

Becky D

I love that you called it “the splashy incident.”

Zika Ziki

And now everytime Horton posted something on his instagram, he gets these thousands of hate posts the Chinese.


Sun Yang has done some stupid stuff like driving without a license and getting into a fight with a female swimmer but the “drug” he was suspended for isn’t even banned anymore. He and Efimova were getting crucified for minor infractions. A heart medication and an over the counter fat burner. The anti-doping orgs need to be more careful how they go about adding new substances to their ban list and giving enough time for athletes to make adjustments.


ct swim fan

Yeah, just what we all want to see, more time to switch their cheating to another drug.


Very smart comment

Hayden Fry

Yep. Just a “heart medication”.


You can be as skeptical as you want but that’s the substance he was suspended for which is no longer on the banned list.

Attila the Hunt

You must have gotten your info from Xinhua. Trimetazidine is actually still on banned list, in fact it has been upgraded to “no TUE” status.

Concerned Coach

The “heart medication” is used in a controlled medical setting to assist in recovery from major heart issues (open heart surgery). The medication builds the heart muscle and therefore works to pump more blood, red blood cells/oxygen to the body. This doping wasn’t an accident or a mis read label. “As a doping drug, meldonium is used to enhance athletic performance by increasing the overall endurance of the athlete and speeding up their recovery time after a strenuous workout. This helps them with endurance in that they can train for a longer amount of time without needing breaks in between.” Not to mention Sun Yang has a history of pre-race bullying and histrionics, I applaud Mack, Lily and the rest… Read more »

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Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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