Australian sporting legend Raelene Boyle calls for Mack Horton to be awarded a gold medal after his drug cheat rival Sun Yang was found guilty
- Olympic legend Raelene Boyle says Horton deserves world championships gold
- Mack Horton finished with the silver medal at 2019 FINA event in South Korea
- Court of Arbitration for Sport hit gold medal winner Sun Yang with doping ban
- In an iconic moment Horton refused to stand on medal podium with Sun Yang
Australian Olympic legend Raelene Boyle has called for Mack Horton to be awarded the 2019 swimming world championships gold medal after the Chinese winner was issued with a drug ban.
Boyle, a vocal activist for clean sport, has said Horton deserves the gold medal after Sun Yang was hit with an eight year ban for his second doping offence.
‘The medals should definitely not be in his [Sun’s] hands,’ Boyle told The Sunday Telegraph.
Australian Olympic legend Raelene Boyle has called for Mack Horton to be awarded the 2019 swimming world championships gold medal after the Chinese winner was issued a drug ban
Horton, 23, refused to stand on the medal podium with Sun Yang, 28, at the 2019 world swimming championships in South Korea
Raelene Boyle of Australia waves to the crowd after winning a silver medal in the Womens 100m final during the 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany
‘I know Mack would rather come second and not cheat than cheat to win the gold but sporting organisations down the track have to address what happens with medals because Mack should have that gold medal and this is a really big issue.’
On Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport hit Sun with an eight-year ban for his second doping offence in which he smashed blood vials with a hammer before they could be tested in September 2018.
While the ban effectively ends the 28-year-old’s swimming career, the medals he was awarded cannot be re-allocated under the current rules.
Despite Sun being charged with tampering and refusing to provide a sample after the hammer incident, swimming’s governing organisation FINA did not issue a provisional ban before the world championships.
Remarkably FINA’s own anti-doping authorities then cleared Sun of the charges.
Even though the CAS panel this week unanimously found Sun had broken the sport’s rules they cannot retroactively ban him from competing.
It is this rule that infuriates Boyle, who says that the CAS ruling has shown Horton did the right thing by protesting during the championships.
In a now iconic moment from the 2019 FINA event in South Korea, 23-year-old Horton, who finished with a silver medal, refused to stand on the medal podium with gold medalist Sun Yang.
Sun Yang (right) was hit with an eight-year ban for his second doping offence after he smashed blood vials with a hammer (Mack Horton, left, protests the gold medal at the 2019 FINA event)
‘I actually think Mack’s taken a huge leap for all athletes by not getting on the dais with someone that cheated because the powers that be, through their decision, have acknowledged that what he did was right,’ Boyle said.
Boyle herself knows the sting of being robbed of a gold medal by drug cheats.
She lost out in track and field events at the 1972 Olympics to East German athletes who, it was revealed after the fall of Communism, were part of a state sponsored doping program.
Boyle says that while in her brain she knows she was the best at the time it would be nice to have the medal as an acknowledgement of that.
In the aftermath of the CAS ruling, Horton’s Instagram was flooded with aggressive comments from trolls, many in Chinese characters, that included death threats.
‘My stance has always been about clean sport and never about nations or individuals,’ Horton told 7 News after the CAS ruling.
Boyle has also launched the #givemackgold campaign to support Horton.
Olympic sprinter Raelene Boyle (right) and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates AC pose for a photo after Raelene was presented the Australian Olympic Committee Order of Merit award in 2019