Rough news this week for two of the finest swimmers in the world, both from the medical side:
● China’s Yang Sun, the triple Olympic gold medalist and nine-time World Champion in distance Freestyles, is in the news thanks to a sensational story in the Sunday Times (GBR) that “A clash with anti-doping testers ended in him and his security guard using a hammer to smash a sealed vial containing the swimmer’s blood,” back on 4 September at his home in China.
The back story to the incident is that Sun, 27, was previously suspended for three months by the Chinese Swimming Association for doping back in May of 2014 due to the use of trimetazidine, then classified as a stimulant (but since downgraded, although still banned).
So, another doping positive could result in a long suspension and even a lifetime ban. FINA issued a statement on Monday, noting “FINA is aware of the reports in the Sunday Times and other media outlets regarding Chinese swimmer Sun Yang. In accordance with FINA’s Anti-Doping Policy (FINA DC Rules 14.1.5 and 14.3.3) and the decision of the Doping Panel, FINA is not authorised to comment the case.”
Sun’s representatives went on the offensive against the story, telling the Chinese Xinhua news service that “We reserve the right to file a lawsuit against the relevant international media which reports the incident.”
According to their version, “Sun rejected an out-of-competition doping test at his home in Zhejiang on Sept. 4, 2018 as doping testers from IDTM, the organisation to conduct out-of-competition doping tests, failed to show adequate identification proofs [of identity].”
The newspaper The Australian noted in a Wednesday post that “The case may not be over yet as the [Sunday Times] findings have been sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has 21 days to decide whether to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
● American Olympic sprint champion Nathan Adrian was surprisingly absent from the first Tyr Pro Swim Series meet in Knoxville, Tennessee, a circuit that he has favored over the past several years.
Then came last Thursday’s announcement by Adrian on Instagram that explained “After a few tests and visits with a specialist, I unfortunately learned that I have Testicular Cancer. On the bright side, we caught it early, I have already started treatment and the prognosis is good. I will be back in the water in a few short weeks with my sights fully set on Tokyo!
“Along the way, I hope to share my journey in an effort to help break the stigma of discussing men’s health issues. I’ve realized that too often we tend to avoid these important topics, ignore the potential warning signs, and put off getting the medical help that we may need.
“As I told my family, I’ll be putting my public health degree to work a little sooner than I planned! But in all seriousness, I am keeping a positive attitude as cases such as mine are curable.”
He posted new details on Tuesday, including “Quick update: I underwent a laparoscopic RPLND procedure yesterday which means they took out some of my lymph nodes that the cancer may have spread to with the help of a robot. My doctor said it went well and my pathology report (which will tell us if it had spread) should be back in another week or so. Until then, we are going to do everything we can to get back to normal life as quickly as possible while staying well within my doctors’ parameters of course!”
Adrian, 30, is on the U.S. Pan American Games and World Championships team for 2019 and USA Swimming will monitor his situation before considering any change in his status.