Two London Medalists, Including Sun Yang, Miss 1500 Final


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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

probably tired without all those drugs coursing through his veins.

Reply to  dude
4 years ago

you sound pretty brave behind the computer screen

Reply to  Objectivedude123
4 years ago

It’s comments like this that make it almost a certainty that doping will continue. A man is proven to have used PEDs in the past – yet the community is so quick to forget and just turn a blind eye in the motive of “second chances” etc. Is it a joke and a humorous comment – sure – but being so brazenly dismissive is so disappointing for the future of this sport.

Definitely Not Florent Manadou
Reply to  Fairness
4 years ago

I’m tired of people misinterpreting comments and then arguing with those misinterpretations. Nothing “objectivedude” said has suggested giving Sun Yang a “second chance”. He’s criticizing the rhetoric of a comment.

Reply to  dude
4 years ago

“He once took a heart medication that is no longer recognized as a stimulant”
Enough said.

In fact, the ones who had the cheek to label him a drug cheat were the real cheats who decided to take advantage of his heart condition while exploiting his temperament.

Deliberately went out to make your blood boil despite knowing fully well your heart condition. Gentlemen, please give it a thought.

Who were the real cheats? 🙂 (y)

Reply to  YiJiun
4 years ago

It is quite easy to defend Sun Yang with false information. Trimetazidine that he was taking is still on the list of banned substances, just not in a category of stimulants, but it was re-classified to category of metabolic modulators. Chinese journalists and fans should get their facts straight before they flood internet with propaganda, stop making a wrongfully accused saint out of Sun Yang just because he wins medals for China which makes you proud and then you take it as an attack on Chinese when people criticize him. He is in fact a controversial person, attacking women in warm-up pools, trash-talking his opponents in the past, driving without licence “he was so focused on his training, that he… Read more »

Reply to  bigfish
4 years ago

Cheating implies some kind of benefit and boost to performance. This drug didn’t do any of that. You are using a stupid technicality to label him a drug cheat and it’s the same exact thing that scumbag Horton (along with AU’s corrupt media) did. Let’s not hide biases here. You want your white hero and an Asian guy being the hero does not fall in line with the established narrative.

4 years ago

Heard rumors that Sun Yang has been sick (fever) ever since 200FR. Can anyone confirm?

4 years ago

Clear excuse.
Too heavy to perform in the 1500 anymore.

Reply to  Emanuele
4 years ago

This is not an excuse. Sun Yang has been sick since 200 and he has tried his best to finish 1500. We are proud of him.

Reply to  Zhao
4 years ago

Come on… One of the reason of this excuse is exactly to mantein this air of invinciblity who he need to seel himself in China.
You can even be proud of him but let’s be real his 1500 are in 14.50-55 range, nothing special right now.
Probably he still could make a podium in 800 free but 1500 are simply too hard for him.

His best performance in 1500m in the last 2 years is a 14.49 high… He is done in this distance.

4 years ago

It was broadcasted on the chinese website SINA before match that he got fever the night after 200 and was seen went to get medical for fever.

Jianfei Shao
4 years ago

yes, it is reported that he has been sick after he won the 200 Freestyle, and is only feeling a bit better today before the heat, but obviously still tired.

4 years ago

He has been sick with a cold and fever after he finished the 200m race. He put in the best effort he could to even just complete the 1500. Nonetheless he’s still the world record holder 🙂

4 years ago

Quite obvious. He puts muscle and gain fast in the 200 & 400 so it means he can’t performe at best in 1500.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »