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Mack Horton finally apologizes, but not to Sun Yang

By Zhang Tianrui (People's Daily Online)    14:00, August 11, 2016
Mack Horton finally apologizes, but not to Sun Yang

The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph reported on Aug. 10 that Australian Olympic swimmer Mack Horton had finally offered an apology about his comments alleging that Chinese swimmer Sun Yang was a "drug cheat." However, the apology was not to Sun himself, but rather to those with similar names to Mack Horton, who have been harrassed on social media in the wake of Horton's comments.

Horton's father Andrew said that he was proud of his son, since he has dared to call attention to an important issue in sports. Not everyone believes there is cause to hail Horton for his bravery, however; Horton previously told Australian media that he made the provocative statement in order to distract Sun and interfere with his performance.

When asked about his feelings toward the past few days' events, Horton said, "I have just been focusing on the process and that is what you have to do at times like this." He also mentioned that he has gained 30,000 new Instagram followers since the controversy began.

After winning gold in the 400-meter freestyle race, Horton's behavior has triggered a great deal of anger and resentment. China's Swimming Association sent an official appeal letter to Swimming Australia, requesting that Horton apologize to Sun. Swimming Australia rejected the appeal, arguing that athletes have a right to express their own opinions.

Mainstream media outlet 7 News Australia launched a Facebook poll asking whether Horton should apologize to Sun. The results showed that 87 percent of Australian respondents believe Horton should apologize.

Sun Yang served a three-month ban in 2014 after using a banned substance which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency drug list in 2014. The 24-year-old said he unwittingly took the drug as part of treatment for a chronic heart problem.

Horton and his father
(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Zhang Tianrui,Bianji)

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