Sun Yang's 8-year ban overturned after lawyers point to judge's anti-Chinese tweets
China's most decorated swimmer can swim again for now. (AP Photo / Martin Meissner, FILE)
A collection of vehemently anti-Chinese tweets has made one of the longest running sagas in swimming grow even longer.
According to Tariq Panja of the New York Times, Sun Yang, the most distinguished swimmer in Chinese history, had his eight-year ban on sports arbitration by a Swiss federal court on Wednesday. The ban was originally enacted after the World Anti-Doping Agency filed a complaint against Sun for refusing to work with three anti-doping officers who were trying to take blood and urine samples from his home in China to collect.
The reason for the reversal was a successful challenge from Sun's lawyers, who challenged the neutrality of Franco Frattini, the chairman of the three-person CAS panel that banned swimmers.
In particular, Sun's lawyers pointed to previous tweets from Frattini, which had strong anti-Chinese sentiment.
The CAS chairman had dozens of anti-Chinese tweets
It is unclear which tweets from Frattini, who was previously Italy's foreign minister, were deemed anti-Chinese by the Swiss court, but no options are missing.
Frattini has posted angry tweets against China in the past, mostly responding to animal cruelty in the region.
Hell forever for those bastard-sadic Chinese who brutally killed dogs and cats in Yulin with the complicity of the Chinese authorities !!!
An old yellow-faced sadist who tries to kill and torture a small dog: this is China's picture !!! Westerners who do rich business with China think of these atrocities
Barbarians !! The torturing, killing and eating of dogs is not a story, it is sadism of terrible Chinese people who deserve the worst of evil. The majority of Chinese people don't like this horror, but they need to step in and ban Yulin torture
You can check out the larger collection of Frattini's anti-China tweets here, but be warned that almost every tweet is responsive to images of animal cruelty.
Where do Sun Yang and the CAS go from here?
Although Sun's ban has been lifted, that doesn't mean he's out of the woods.
According to the Times, Sun can now swim again, but only until his case is heard by another CAS panel. According to reports, WADA has announced that it will try the case again and the ban has not been lifted as the case was unfounded.
It's unclear whether Sun's next trial will be public again - its first trial was the first to be held publicly in years and has been hampered by translation issues. It is also unclear when the new trial will take place, which is not insignificant given the planned Summer Olympics in seven months.
Whenever and however the process takes place, it is certain that the whole matter will remain controversial. What started with one of Sun's security officers smashing his blood sample with a hammer turned into a mess for WADA, which only filed its complaint after FINA merely warned Sun to refuse to work with testers even though they were positive had tested for a prohibited substance in WADA past.
Sun and his followers firmly believe that the swimmer is merely a victim of anti-Chinese prejudice and is trying to violate the country, while many Sun colleagues clearly see him as a cheater.
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