2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Swimming: August 6-13
- Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro
- Prelims – 9:00 a.m/12:00 p.m PST/EST (1:00 p.m local), Finals – 6:00 p.m/9:00 p.m PST/EST (10:00 p.m local)
- SwimSwam previews
- Rio Schedule & Results
- Live Stream (NBC)
After his surprising absence from the 2015 World Championship final last year, it was a question coming into these Games what kind of form defending Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang would be in for the men’s 1500 free. It’s now clear.
Sun labored in his 1500 heat this afternoon, starting to trail off at the halfway mark and looked like he was going in reverse for the rest of the race. It really didn’t even look like he was trying, but he was probably out of gas, not in sufficient shape for the gruelling event.
Ever since breaking the world record in this event back at the 2011 World Championships, Sun appeared unbeatable in this event. He roared to another world record at the 2012 Olympics, winning by nearly nine seconds, and won again at the 2013 Worlds. His absence from the final in 2015 brought up many questions, whether he actually had a heart issue that he claimed, or if it had something to do with an alleged altercation in the warm-up pool with a Brazilian swimmer, or if he simply wilted at the thought of a showdown with Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri.
Whatever the reason was there, he was way off form here, 30 seconds over his world record in 15:01.97 to place 16th.
This concludes a roller coaster week for Sun, who was accused of doping by Australian Mack Horton (which is fair considering Sun has tested positive in the past), and also lost the 400 free to Horton, unable to defend his Olympic title.
He came back to win the 200 free two nights later, improving from his silver in London.
Sun wasn’t the only London Olympic medalist who missed the final, as bronze medalist Oussama Mellouli did as well, placing 21st in 15:07.78.
Mellouli won the 2008 Olympic final over Australian legend Grant Hackett and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane, and came back to win the bronze in 2012 along with gold in the 10 KM Open Water event. He also won gold in this event at the 2009 World Championships.