Sun gets out of shadow of snide remarks to shine again
SUN YANG reeled in gold in the men's 200m freestyle on Monday to banish his inner demons after a loss at the weekend.
The talismanic Chinese giant bounced back from losing his 400m title to Australian Mack Horton by overtaking fast-starting Chad le Clos to become the first man to win three of the five Olympic freestyle titles.
"I've won gold medals in the 400m and 1,500m and the only thing missing was the 200m," Sun said, refusing to gloat following a war of words triggered by Horton's criticism of his doping record.
"Look, what I can say is that it was a real pity I couldn't defend my 400m title," he added.
South African Le Clos was still leading at the final turn before Sun mowed him down over the final 50m to win in 1min 44.65sec.
It was Sun's third Olympic gold medal after winning the 400m and 1,500m titles in London four years ago.
Le Clos, set for a showdown with Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly final, took silver in 1:45.20 and American Conor Dwyer bagged bronze in 1:45.23.
Sun's run-in with Horton sparked an uproar after the Australian sniffed: "I don't have time for drug cheats."
The Chinese, who has frequently courted controversy since his shooting to fame in London, secretly served a three-month drugs suspension for testing positive for a stimulant in 2014.
He claimed it was for a heart condition. "What's past is past," shrugged Sun.
"I was more relaxed tonight. People can talk but what's important is to focus on your own swimming, to do your own thing."