Horton Still Defends Gwangju Podium Snub With Tokyo On The Horizon

Australian freestyle ace Mack Horton made waves both in and out of the pool at the 2019 FINA World Championships. In addition to wrangling up the silver medal in the men’s 400m free, Horton refused to climb on the podium to stand next to gold medalist Sun Yang of China.

His abstaining from podium celebrations and standing behind the platform on the floor during the Chinese national anthem there in Gwangju was Horton’s way of protesting Sun even being present at the competition. At the time, Sun was facing a CAS hearing regarding the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal case against FINA’s decision not to sanction the world record holder over his blood vial-smashing incident in September.

Since then, Sun was banned for 8 years only to see a reversal of that punishment by the Swiss Court. As it stands right now, Sun will be able to compete at the postponed 2020 Olympic Games set to begin in July of this year, although the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is meeting next month.

Horton has made it known he has plans to make some noise once again should both he and Sun be present in Tokyo just over a hundred days from now. Speaking with The Sunday TelegraphHorton stated this week, “Yeah, I would do something again.”

Reflecting on his Gwangju spectacle, Horton said, “I did it because I didn’t want to regret not doing it or not saying something.”

And he’s been dealing with the aftermath ever since, reportedly being victim to online abuse, as well as what he believes to be lost sponsorship deals due to his speaking out against a Chinese athlete.

“It was obviously pretty brutal for a bit and it goes on,” Horton told The Sunday Telegraph. “But you adapt. Everyone’s got used to it and we’ve obviously got a fair bit of support as well.”

We’ll see if both Horton and Sun wind up in Tokyo.

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25Backstroke
13 days ago

As much I like Horton, I feel like the whole narrative of the 400 (and even 200 to an extent) being purely defined as a Sun vs. Horton era for many discredits a lot of other amazing swimmers like Scott, Rapsys, Guy, Detti, etc. I don’t think Horton is the undisputed 2nd best by any stretch of the imagination, and the feud takes away attention from other equally valid competitors.

Reid
Reply to  25Backstroke
13 days ago

You’re choosing to look at it that way. Like it or not protest requires individuals to act, and that brings attention to them. It’s not like he can protest anonymously; he (along with Duncan Scott and if they had wanted to the other podium finishers) was the right man at the right time to make the statement. If Rapšys finishes second behind Sun at the Olympics many people will rightfully regard him as the true champion, and he will largely have Horton and Scott to thank for that.

25Backstroke
Reply to  Reid
13 days ago

I’m not saying he shouldn’t protest, I’m saying the drama shouldn’t be the main focus of swimming & regular news as much as the literal swimming should. The drama shows a picture of two people, when the actual times show that it’s a very closely bunched field with a plethora of names equally deserving.

Robbos
Reply to  25Backstroke
13 days ago

He’s not 2nd best in the 200, he is the champion.

Robbos
Reply to  Robbos
13 days ago

I meant 400!!!!

Jonny Davis
Reply to  25Backstroke
13 days ago

Well Horton won the olympics so that says enough. And its not about that anyway. Its about Sun is a cheat and shouldn’t have been there and shouldnt be in Tokyo and if he is there will be alot more protesting than just Sun and Scott.

Samesame
Reply to  25Backstroke
13 days ago

You’ve forgotten 2016 and 2019?

Troyy
Reply to  25Backstroke
13 days ago

Let me know when any of those guys has finished first or second in the 400 at worlds or Olympics from Rio until now. Scott doesn’t even swim the 400. The only one who is close to Horton’s achievements is Detti who is very consistently bronze behind Horton.

Gheko
Reply to  25Backstroke
13 days ago

Its about clean sport!

GrameziPT
13 days ago

I think if you protest in an Olympic podium you automatically lose your medal.
There is a whole set of rules in place especially since a Judo athelet protested and lost his medal

Robbos
Reply to  GrameziPT
13 days ago

Its about Sun is a cheat and shouldn’t have been there and shouldn’t be in Tokyo.

Dudeman
Reply to  GrameziPT
13 days ago

I think if you get caught doping and then also get caught up in a scandal where you smash vials containing your own blood samples you shouldn’t be allowed to compete and should also automatically lose your medals

Corn Pop
Reply to  Dudeman
13 days ago

Except no vials were smashed acccording to Australian.Olympic sports journalist Tracey Holmes who read the entire report ( ABC .net.au) Other Australian sports lawyers & commentators have seconded that .

I am willing to read your evidence .

Last edited 13 days ago by Corn Pop
Blackflag82
Reply to  Corn Pop
13 days ago

You’re engaging in quite the verbal semantics there:

“the blood vials were not smashed with a hammer, only the container. “To the panel’s knowledge,” the blood vials remain in the possession of Dr Ba (although they are no longer eligible to be tested because the chain of custody was broken).”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-15/sun-yang-appears-before-court-of-abitration-for-sport/11703694

So yes, saying smashed vials is incorrect, but using a hammer to open the vials container so the vials can’t be tested has the same effect at the end of the day…

Sir Swimsalot
13 days ago

I respect him for sticking to his guns even under all the pressure. That’s commendable in this day and age

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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