SwimSwam Pulse: 57% Support Podium Protests In General; 28% Oppose

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to weigh in on the high-profile podium protests at 2019 Worlds:


Question: Should athletes use the podium as a venue for protests, like Mack Horton did?

  • Yes – 57.3%
  • No – 28.3%
  • Not sure – 14.4%

More than half of SwimSwam voters supported using the podium as a venue for protests. That’s not surprising, as the general tilt of the comment section appeared very much in favor of Mack Horton and Duncan Scott in their podium protests of Sun Yang.

The Australian Horton refused to stand on the podium next to Sun after Sun beat Horton for gold in the 400 free. Later on, when Sun took gold in the 200 free, Great Britain’s Duncan Scott did not shake his hand, leading the Chinese Sun to have a verbal outburst on the podium and as the medalists walked away.

The poll was more general: it was about the concept of using the podium as a place to protest or make statements. Some commenters expressed disagreement with the gesture, believing the podium to be purely celebratory, and not a place for protest or discussion. 28.3% of voters in our poll felt that way, which is a pretty significant chunk, given how unpopular Sun generally was with swimming fans all week.

Maybe more surprising is that 14.4% of voters were actually unsure of their stance. The discussion was so polarizing that it felt like everyone had chosen a side and dug in with 100% certainty as to their correctness. But almost 150 voters said they weren’t sure about the podium’s place as a venue for protests.

The other contributing factor to this poll are the specific nations involved. Both the United Kingdom and Australia were among the 3 most-represented countries in SwimSwam readership over the course of Worlds, per some of our internal analytics figures. China, which censors internet access domestically, was outside the top 20. A look at social media shows that those numbers are skewed compared to total swimming fandom populations – both Scott and Horton were forced to close comments on their Instagram pages when they were flooded with critical comments from fans supporting Sun.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to pick the most impressive world record of 2019 Worlds:

What was the most impressive world record of 2019 Worlds?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

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I know that I DO NOT support FINA’s LACK of action against dopers


Can the next poll be a petition to get Peaty and proud to take Scott to the weight room with them? Maybe more speed and more importantly sun would think twice before getting in his face.


Might have to include an “enforcer” as a relay alternate


Impressive? Milak. Surprising? Smith.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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