Chinese swimmer Sun Yang had his eight year doping ban overturned Wednesday after a challenge from the three-time Olympic champion’s lawyers against the chairman of the three panel judge that handed down the original ruling. The challenge comes following a clash between the chairman in question, former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini, and some insensitive tweets from the chairman’s account.
First, the clash. The incident was captured through a rare live stream of the Court of Arbitration for Sport process in November 2019. At the end of the hearing, Sun had called for another translator from the public seats so that his closing statement could be better articulated. Frattini responded with “Who is this guy? It is not up to you to appear before the court. There are some rules.”
As for the tweets, it was a series of them that upset Sun. One that particularly stood out was from April 2019, which, according to the Associated Press, read: “Those horrible sadic chinese are the shame of mankind !! For how they torture animals they deserve the evil every day! And the chinese authorities tolerate and encourage.”
Sun’s case will now be reviewed by a different chairman of the judges after the court determined that these complaints were enough to set aside the ruling made back in February — he was found guilty of refusing to cooperate with sample collectors who came to draw blood in 2018. As of this moment, the 29-year-old swimmer only officially has a warning against him from the international governing body for water sports, FINA. Up in the air for this new case is whether he’ll be able to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, which were rescheduled from the summer of 2020 to 2021.
The swimmer has been a magnet for controversy in recent years due to the cheating allegations against him. The most recent notable incident happened at the 2019 World Aquatic Championships in South Korea, when rival Duncan Scott refused to acknowledge Sun with a handshake. This most recent case is also for his second ban for doping since 2014.