13.02.2019 by

The Greatest Freestyle Swimmer of All Time Faces Lifetime Ban for Doping

The Greatest Freestyle Swimmer of All Time Faces Lifetime Ban for Doping

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang refused to provide doping control officers with a urine specimen and physically destroyed a blood specimen.

Sun Yang, a Chinese swimmer widely considered to be one of the best freestyle swimmers in the world, reportedly refused to provide urine and blood samples to doping control officers last year. If Yang is found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), he would face a lifetime suspension.

The incident in question took place at Yang’s home in Zhejiang (China) during a 6-hour period beginning at 22:00 on September 4, 2018 and ending at almost 04:00 on September 5, 2018.

Doping control officers (DCO) working for International Doping Tests & Management (IDTM) arrived at Yang’s residence at 22:00 because the swimmer had designated 22:00 to 23:00 as his one-hour window of availability under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Whereabout Rules.

Yang arrived at 23:00 and permitted a nurse to collect a blood sample. However, Yang apparently began to have reservations when it came time to provide a urine sample.

Yang questioned the credentials of the IDTM chaperone who was assigned to observe Yang urinate into a bottle. Yang stalled the DCOs for almost two hours until his personal doctor (Dr. Ba Zhen) arrived at 01:00.

Yang’s defense hinges on the qualifications and credentials of the IDTM nurse who collected his blood sample.

Dr. Zhen questioned the credentials of the nurse who collected Yang’s blood sample. Zhen contacted Zhejiang Anti-Doping Centre director Dr. Han Zhaoqi. Zhaoqi confirmed that the nurse did not possess the proper credentials.

Yang’s mother (Ming Yang) took over and allegedly order a security guard to take a hammer and destroyed blood samples collected from Yang. Yang also reportedly grabbed the IDTM report book and destroyed it.

DCOs consulted with IDTM headquarters on how to proceed for the next couple of hours. However, DCOs were unable to collect any additional samples from Yang. They departed after 03:15.

The Fédération internationale de Natation (FINA) exonerated Yang during a hearing held on January 3, 2019. FINA determined that it may “never know” what really happened but accepted the assertion that the nurse’s paperwork was inadequate.

However, WADA officials are planning on appealing the “unbelievable and unacceptable” ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If Yang is found guilty, he faces a lifetime suspension since it would represent his second ADRV.

Yang was previously suspended for 3 months after testing positive for the stimulant trimetazidine in May 2014. Trimetazidine had been added to the WADA Prohibited Substance list in January 2014.

Yang provided evidence that the drug was prescribed by his doctor to treat a medical history of angina and heart palpitations. The China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) concluded that Yang did not intentionally use a banned performance-enhancing drug.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) subsequently reclassified trimetazidine as a cardiac metabolism modulator instead of a stimulant.

Yang has denied the smashing of vials of blood by his entourage and has threatened to take legal action over such reports. The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) has also sided with Yang and has dismissed the allegations as “fake news”.

Yang is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. He won the 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyle events at the 2012 London Olympics and the 200-meter freestyle event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He has also won nine World Championship gold medals at every freestyle distance.

Yang is still planning to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


Lord, C. (January 27, 2019). Olympic champion Sun Yang abuses drug testers. Retrieved from


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