As the Australians wake to discover that Chinese media is accusing them of blocking one of their best coaches from training one of China’s best swimmers, Swimming Australia has responded:
“The story is incorrect,” said a Swimming Australia spokesperson.
Short, succinct, and to the point. The organization had no other details on where a miscommunication or misinterpretation may have come from and that any further information would have to come from the “Sun Yang camp.”
This muddies the water on what led World Record holder and two-time Olympic Champion Sun Yang to tell China’s English language China Daily News that Swimming Australia had told Denis Cotterell that he was no longer allowed to coach international swimmers.
Yang trained from 2010 through the 2012 Olympics, making him one of several Chinese swimmers at Cotterell’s Miami Swim Club. According to a New York Times article from March, Cotterell said “They are not really happy in Australia,” referring to the reaction of the sport’s governing body on his training Chinese athletes. Both countries earned 10 total medals in London, but thanks in part to Yang’s two golds (the first two ever by a Chinese man), 5 of China’s were gold to just one by Australia.
In the process, Yang rebroke the men’s 1500 free World Record that he took at the 2011 World Championships from Australian icon Grant Hackett: another former Cotterell swimmer. Meanwhile, the Australians didn’t have a single man make the FINA Automatic Qualifying Time in the event.