Tiger mum hammered as Sun’s career ends in blood and tears

Sympathy is in short supply for a tarnished swimming champion who copped an eight-year ban for destroying blood vials with a hammer

It started in a “leisure” room late at night and spilled outside into a bloody fracas involving a swimmer, security guard, lock box and a hammer.

As the details of what would prove to be the final, fateful moments of Sun Yang’s suspiciously productive swimming career trickle out, it’s hard not to picture a scene from every episode of the seven seasons of Border Patrol: the one where the middle aged Chinese woman gets pinged with a suitcase of rotting fruit and dried animal parts and flies into a rage at the customs agent who fines her for a false declaration.

Because, if news reports of the actions that earned the contentious champion swimmer an eight-year ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport are accurate, it was Sun’s Tiger Mum Yang Ming who caused things to kick off when WADA’s drug testers came calling late one night in 2018.

An important clarification here: while Sun’s mum is a tiger, Tiger’s mum is not. (It was Tiger Woods’ dad, Earl, not his Thai mum Kultilda, who aggressively, mercilessly pushed the golfer to become a sporting champ.)

So cop that, stereotype.

Back to the dimming of China’s swimming Sun.

As acts of sporting self-immolation go, Sun’s was deeply impressive. Having been asked by testers who ‘randomly’ visited his home out of competition time to provide blood samples, Sun clearly initially complied.

We know this because of the vials filled with his blood that would later be extricated from a metal drop box by Sun and his security guard (apparently at the direction of aforementioned Tiger Mum Yang Ming) and summarily smashed with a hammer.

Sun’s explanation for this action was that the testers had failed to properly identify themselves.

If you’re thinking that many people would perhaps ask for ID prior to letting someone drain their blood, and that smashing samples with a hammer doesn’t exactly scream “nothing to see here”, then your thoughts aren’t aligned with swimming’s governing body FINA – which somehow cleared Sun of any wrongdoing at all.

It was that ruling that prompted the World Anti Doping Authority to appeal to CAS, which noted in its judgment: “It is one thing, having provided a blood sample, to question the accreditation of the testing personnel while keeping the intact samples in the possession of the testing authorities. It is quite another thing, after lengthy exchanges and warnings as to the consequences, to act in such a way that results in destroying the sample containers.”

Translation: you’ve got to be kidding if you think can get away with that shit.

Yang, of course, had plenty of reasons to believe he would get away it.

For starters, his Mum almost certainly told him he would.

Also, in 2014, Yang emerged scot-free despite providing Chinese anti-doping authorities with a sample that tested positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine.

News of that positive test was kept secret to allow him to win three gold medals at the forthcoming world champs. When the adverse test result was eventually reported, it was described as "not very serious" and warranting only a three-month ban that the swimmer had already served.

Rough justice indeed – but not for Yang.

It was that ridiculous situation – and widespread belief among his rivals that the only man to win Olympic and World Championship freestyle medals at every distance between 200m and 1500m was a committed doper – that led to Australian rival Mack Horton refusing to take the podium with Yang, and Briton Duncan Scott refusing to shake his hand.

Yang screaming at Scott that “you’re a loser, I’m a winner” was yet another wonderfully endearing moment in a career not exactly widely celebrated beyond the Great Wall.

However widely despised he may have been, Yang, until CAS’s ruling dropped on February 28, was still a major force in world swimming.

As self-defeating behaviour goes (and following bad parenting advice), Yang’s is surely right up there, ranking alongside some of the greats such as Mikhail Youzney smashing himself in the face with his tennis racquet; James Buster Douglas attempting to eat himself to death after beating Mike Tyson; Mike Tyson trying to eat Evander Holyfield; Serena Williams threatening to shove a tennis ball down a line umpire’s throat; Eric Cantona earning himself community service for karate kicking a fan; Conor McGregor throwing a chair at a bus; Tiger Woods driving his car windscreen into a golf club; and the lady who went bat shit after being caught trying to smuggle bat shit through Auckland Airport in season five of Border Patrol.

One moment you’re a champ, the next minute you’re a mummy’s boy with a hammer, a bad attitude and an eight-year ban.

Here’s to you, Sun Yang.

All the best with your appeal.

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