The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made a statement saying while the organization supports freedom of speech, there should be a line drawn between freedom to speak and “trash talk”.
When asked about how to distinguish between freedom of speech and trash talk, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Monday, “We support freedom of speech but on the other hand, at the Olympics it’s also about respecting your rivals. There is a line somewhere between people should be free to speak and have respect for others.”
The IOC comments followed the on-going row between Chinese and Australian swimming over Australian swimmer Mack Horton’s unfriendly remarks, labeling Chinese swimmer Sun Yang as “drug cheat”.
In the press conference after the final men’s 400m freestyle swimming, Horton repeated his pre-race claim that Sun Yang was a cheat. “I used the word ‘drug cheat’ because he tested positive,” he said, “I just have a problem with him testing positive and still competing.”
Sun Yang did not address the comments, Xinhua reported.
“I don’t think we need more explanation, I am clean,” Sun said. “All the athletes come here deserve to be respected… I don’t think we need to talk about the Australian swimmer’s comments… There’s no need to play tricks to win medals.”
Chinese swimming authorities wrote to its Australian counterpart demanding an apology from Horton for “his inappropriate comments” while the Australian side backed Horton saying: “Mack is entitled to express a point of view. Under the Team Values ASPIRE the E stands for express yourself, that is his right. He has spoken out in support of clean athletes. This is something he feels strongly about and good luck to him.”
Sun, who won gold in the 400m freestyle and 1500m freestyle at the London 2012 Olympics, served a three-month ban in 2014 after using a banned substance, trimetazidine, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency drug list in 2014. On January 1, 2015, WADA reclassified trimetazidine from a “stimulant” to a “metabolic modulator”.
The 24-year-old said he unwittingly took the drug as part of treatment for a chronic heart problem.
The Australian’s comments prompted a heated response on social media, where many Chinese fans described the remarks as unjustified.
Story by Xinhua