We Aussies sure do stand our ground when we believe in something.
The Australian Olympics Committee has defended Australian swimming gold medalist Mack Horton over his comments about Chinese rival Sun Yang’s use of performance-enhancing drugs. Mack had faced massive backlash on social media by his rival’s fans following the incident.
Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson and Swimming Australia president John Bertrand are both in Horton’s corner. “We do support our athletes and trust them that when they say things, they say them with respect and openness and transparency. Mack made that statement and we absolutely back it. He then needed to come out and deliver and he did,” said Mr Anderson.
The Chinese swim team issued a statement, calling Mr Horton’s claims a “malicious personal attack” on Mr Yang. “We have been noticing what has been said in the past two days by Horton, who launched a malicious personal attack [on Chinese swimmers],” team manager Xu Qi told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
The AOC issued a curt response to Mr Xu Qi’s demand, saying, “Mack is entitled to express a point of view. Under the Team Values ASPIRE the E stands for express yourself, that is his right. He has spoken out in support of clean athletes. This is something he feels strongly about and good luck to him.”
Sun Yang fired shots back at Mack a day after the Australian’s gold medal-winning swim. When asked if he would beat Horton in the 1,500m, Yang told Channel 7: “In 1500m, I am the king.”
If nations are going to start making complaints about clean athletes taking aim at dopers, it could be a long Olympics.