China's Sun Yang, three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, receives eight-year ban for doping

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang received an eight-year ban, the maximum the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) can hand out, on Friday after missing an out-of-competition doping test. The ban would put the swimmer for China out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, though he maintains his innocence and posted on social media that he plans on appealing the punishment. This is second time since 2014 he has received a ban for doping. 

FINA, the swimming federation, cleared the 28-year-old originally, but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the ruling. CAS accepted the WADA appeal and came to a conclusion that resulted in this ban. 

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli said:

"WADA decided to appeal the original FINA ruling having carefully reviewed it and having concluded that there were a number of points that seemed to be incorrect under the Code. Today's CAS ruling confirms those concerns and is a significant result. We will now need to take time to review the decision in full, and we will continue to review diligently all anti-doping decisions taken by Code Signatories to ensure they are in line with the Code and, when warranted, to exercise our independent right of appeal."

Sun's team is not happy and says agencies need to make changes to their rules with the national Chinese organization calling the actions against Sun "illegal and invalid." The Chinese Swimming Association said they are hoping Sun is able to "continue to safeguard his legitimate rights through legal means."

Sun is quoted by Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency as saying, "This is unfair, I firmly believe my innocence." His social media post read, "I am shocked and angry -- I don't understand. I firmly believe my innocence and that truth will prevail over lies."

Sun is already not well respected by many of his peers, with some athletes, including rival Duncan Scott, refusing to acknowledge Sun with a handshake following competition. Scott's snub came when Sun won gold at the 2019 World Aquatic Championships in South Korea. Scott says he completely supports the ruling in regards to his rival.

Mack Horton also did not want to recognize Sun's victory and chose not to share the podium with him just two days before Scott refused a handshake. Other swimmers are pointing out that Sun's actions have an impact on them and their careers and want to ensure a level playing field for all. 

Olympic champion Chad le Clos said when he looks back at his second place medal in 2016 against Sun in the 200m-meter freestyle it does not seem fair.

"It's obviously not for me to judge but of course, I believe that I deserve that gold medal," he told CNN

Yang won two gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics and one at Rio de Janeiro games in 2016.

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