Chinese swimmer Sun Yang banned until 2024 after breaking anti-doping rules

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang banned until 2024 after breaking anti-doping rules

June 23, 2021

Sun Yang will not have a chance to defend his 200-meter gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. On Tuesday, Yang was banned until 2024 after violating anti-doping rules.

The ban is connected to the eight-year ban Yang received in 2020. The issue stems from an incident in 2019 when Yang refused to let anti-doping officials leave his home with vials of his blood. Yang reportedly confronted the officials over their authority. Eventually, a member of Yang's entourage smashed a container that contained vials of Yang's blood with a hammer. 

Yang initially received an eight-year ban for his actions, but that ban was overturned by an appeal after the chairman of the judge panel made anti-Chinese comments on social media. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport appointed new judges and held a retrial knowing that it had to make a decision before the Tokyo Olympics. The retrial found that Yang "acted recklessly" during the 2019 incident, and banned Yang until February 2024. The suspension is backdated to February 2020. The length of the suspension would allow Yang to be eligible for the 2024 Olympics. 

Sun Yang also banned in 2014

It's the second ban Yang has received in his career. Yang was hit with a three month ban in 2014 after testing positive for trimetazidine, a banned stimulant. Trimetazidine was added to the banned list four months before Yang's suspension, and he said he didn't realize the drug — which he said was prescribed to him for heart palpitations — had been included on the banned list.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Yang became the first Chinese man to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. He won two golds at the event. Yang also won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. 

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