China’sSun Yang was absent from the final of the men’s 1500 freestyle, leaving a big hole in the middle of the pool in Sunday’s event final.
While we have been unable to contact anyone in Sun’s camp to confirm the nature of his withdrawal, we have confirmed with Brazilian sources that Sun Yang was involved in a physical altercation with a Brazilian female swimmer in the warmup pool. The Brazilian team reported Sun to FINA.
Additionally, Sun was seen by several other swimmers from other federations that we’ve spoken to exchanging heated words with a Brazilian coach after the incident.
Sun was seen in the warmup pool before the finals sessions. Updates below include the official reasons being given by FINA for the withdrawal.
Update: The BBC is reporting that the Chinese Federation has given a “heart problem during warmups” as the official reason for Sun’s withdrawal from the 1500 free final. Nicole Jeffery from The Australian says that a FINA official has said the same thing, and that there “wasn’t time for a full medical checkup,” so he withdrew. FINA says that they will hold a press conference regarding Sun’s withdrawal after the session.
Update #2: The Brazilian team’s head coach Albertinho has confirmed the altercation in an interview for Brazilian television, according to Brazilian outlet Yes Swim. He says that the Chinese coaches came to apologize afterward, and that he doesn’t believe it was the reason for Sun’s withdrawal from the final. The altercation happened during the preliminary session, but was not with a swimmer who participated in the day’s events. Instead, it was a swimmer who was preparing for next week’s Brazilian National Championships and had completed competition earlier in the week.
Note: the original last sentence of this story says that we were unable to ascertain information that this was the reason for Sun’s withdrawal from the 1500 final. Brazil, China, and FINA have now all said that it was unrelated.
The writer formerly known as "Troy Gennaro", better known as Tony Carroll, has been working with SwimSwam since April of 2013. Tony grew up in northern Indiana and started swimming in 2003 when his dad forced him to join the local swim team. Reluctantly, he joined on the condition that …