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Sun Yang

Sun Yang
Personal information
Full name Sun Yang (孙杨)
Nationality  China
Born (1991-12-01) December 1, 1991
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Height 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Weight 89 kg (196 lb)
Club Zhejiang Swimming Team
Sun Yang
Traditional Chinese 孫楊
Simplified Chinese 孙杨

Sun Yang (simplified Chinese: 孙杨; traditional Chinese: 孫楊; pinyin: Sūn Yáng; born 1 December 1991 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang; ancestral home Huai'nan, Anhui)[1] is a Chinese Olympic and world-record-holding distance swimmer. He swam for China at the 2008 Olympics.[2] At the 2010 Asian Games, he won the men's 1500m freestyle in an Asian Record; this swim and his two other medals at the Games were cited in his being named the Rookie of the Year at the 2010 CCTV Sports Awards.[3] At the 2011 World Championships, Sun broke the world record in the 1500 metre freestyle, set by Grant Hackett in 2001 and the longest-held world record in swimming at the time it was broken,[4] and the only men's swimming record to not have been beaten during the techsuit era. He won the 400 m and 1500 m freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics, becoming the first Chinese man ever to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.[5] At the 2012 Olympics, he was one of two male swimmers to win two individual titles, the other being Michael Phelps.

Swimming career

Although Sun Yang had been swimming for several years, his international breakthrough happened at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At the age of 16, Sun placed 28th in the 400 m freestyle (3:50.90), unable to reach the final. He rebounded from this by qualifying seventh fastest for the 1500 m freestyle in a time of 14:48.39. In the final he would go on to swim much slower and finish dead last in the Olympic final (15:05.12). This was just beginning of his career, as the following year at the World Championships in Rome, he would go on to win his first international medal with a bronze in the 1500 freestyle with a time of 14:46.84. He also placed 18th in the 400 freestyle (3:47.51).

2010 Asian Games

Sun Yang's big breakthrough happened at the 2010 Asian Games. Here, Sun won gold medals in the 1500 freestyle, 4x200 freestyle relay, and silver medals in the 200 and 400 freestyle. On note, his 1500 freestyle time of 14:35.43 was a new Asian record and the second fastest time in history, only second to Grant Hackett. This led many to believe that Sun would inevitably break Hackett's hallowed mark.

2011 World Aquatics Championships

On the first day of competition, Sun placed second in the 400 freestyle, losing to Park Tae-Hwan in a time of 3:43.24. Three days later, he would go on to win his first World Championship title in the 800 freestyle with a time of 7:38.57. After a day of rest he would go on to anchor the China team to a bronze medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay. On the final day of competition, Sun competed in the 1500 freestyle. Hailed as the favourite for the event before the race, Sun Yang won with the time of 14:34.14, ten seconds ahead of the rest of the field. With that time, Sun Yang also broke the World Record previously set by Grant Hackett, 14:34.56, which stood for ten years before Sun's feat.

2012 Summer Olympics

Olympic medal record
2012 London – Men's Swimming
Competitor for  China
Gold 400 m freestyle 3 min 40.14 s (OR)
Gold 1500 m freestyle 14 min 31.02 s (WR)
Silver 200 m freestyle 1 min 44.93 s
Bronze 4 × 200 m freestyle relay 7 min 06.30 s

Coming into the Games, Sun was a favorite in the 400 m and 1500 m freestyles as well as a medal contender in the 200 m freestyle. In his first event on day one, the 400 m freestyle, Sun won in a time 3:40.14, becoming the first Chinese male swimmer to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Of note, his time was also the third fastest effort in history, 0.07 sec off the world record, and a new Asian record. After a day of rest, he competed in the 200 m freestyle. In the final, he raced himself to a silver, tying with Park Tae-Hwan in a time of 1:44.93, a new national record. The following day, Sun would anchor the Chinese team to a bronze in the 4×200 freestyle relay, their first ever in the event. After the relay he would not be back in the pool until the final day of competition, where he would compete in his best event, the 1500 freestyle. After easily breezing into the final as the fastest qualifier, it seemed as though he would win by a longshot. At the initial line-up on the starting blocks, a step-down command was issued due to noises from the crowd, but instead of stepping back, Sun reacted by diving in. However, it was quickly determined this was not a false start since it was a step-down command. Thus Sun was allowed back in the competition. He went on to win the race in a time of 14:31.02, a new world record by over 3 seconds and over 8 seconds ahead of second place finisher Ryan Cochrane. These results made Sun the most successful Chinese male swimmer in Olympic history. Sun was the first swimmer to win the 400/1500 double since Vladimir Salnikov at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. His final 50m of the race was a 25.68, nearly two seconds faster than second place finisher Ryan Cochrane.

2013 World Aquatics Championships

After a rough year of training and disputes with his coach, Sun was back in action at the World Championships. On the first day of the competition, Sun Yang improved on his silver showing at the last World Championships by winning Gold in the 400m freestyle, with a time of 3:41.59. While it was nearly a second and a half off his Olympic winning time from the previous year, he was still over three seconds ahead of the second place finisher Kosuke Hagino.[6] Two days later, Sun was able to retain his title in the 800m freestyle with a time of 7:41.36. It was his second gold medal in this Championships and the 100th gold medal won by China in the World Aquatics Championships history.[7] On day six of the meet Sun was given the task of anchoring the 4 x 200 m freestyle Chinese relay team. China barely slid into the final at eighth place, but many thought Sun would be a huge benefit to the team, as China was the previous bronze medalists in this event at the last World Championships. Going into the final leg, China was in fifth, over two seconds behind France and Japan. This huge difference In time meant it would take a huge leg to go by these teams for the bronze medal, but Sun was able to overtake both teams in the end with a time of 1:43.16, nearly two seconds faster than the second fastest. Even taking the relay exchange out of this time, its still over a second faster than Yang's flat start time of 1:44.93. On the final day of the competition, Sun repeated his title as Olympic and World Champions in the 1500m freestyle by beating Ryan Cochrane again, despite in a time of 10 seconds slower than his world record finish in 2012 Olympics. By doing so, Sun becomes the first swimmer since Australian Grant Hackett, and second in the history, to win all three long distance gold medals in freestyle (400m, 800m and 1500m) in a single world championships game.

Post-2013 Season

A month after the World Championships in Barcelona, Sun would go on to compete in China's 12th National Games, which are held every four years. At this competition Sun was vying to become the first man of all time at the competition to win seven gold medals. In order to win seven gold medals Sun would have to add the 100 m freestyle to his repertoire, typically an event reserved for sprinters. Sun however ended up signing up for the event. With the games holding the same schedule as the Olympics, he first competed in the 400 m freestyle. He won in 3:43.68, over a second ahead of Hao Yun. The following day he won the 400 m freestyle relay event, swimming the anchor leg in 48.14 . This type of time in a world record holding distance swimmer is relatively unheard of. He followed his performances the next day by setting a new Asian Record in the 200 m freestyle with a 1:44.47, about half a second faster than what he went in London. This time was a follow up to the 1:43.16 anchor leg he had swam on the 800 m freestyle relay in Barcelona. He showed off his versatility the next day when he won bronze in the 100 m freestyle getting under 49 for the first time in 48.94.

Sun Yang had lost a month of his stipend and barred from competitive events beginning in early November for an indefinite time, after it was discovered that he was driving without a license following a fender-bender in which a bus rear-ended a relative's Porsche Cayenne that he was illegally operating.[8] He has since made a public apology, stating that he "should have been a role model as an athlete and public figure... but failed in my responsibility" (translated).[9]


Sun Yang has made a comeback in his first post-suspension event in the 2014 China Spring Nationals, where he has picked at least one gold medal in the Men's 200m Freestyle.[10]

In May 2014, Sun tested positive for the banned stimulant trimetazidine and was banned for 3 months by the Chinese Swimming Association.[11]

Major achievements

Personal bests (long course)

Event Time Venue Date Note(s)
100 m freestyle 48.94 Shengyang September 8, 2013
200 m freestyle 1:44.47 Shengyang September 7, 2013 NR, AS
400 m freestyle 3:40.14 London July 28, 2012 OR, AS, NR
800 m freestyle 7:38.57 Shanghai July 27, 2011
1500 m freestyle 14:31.02 London August 4, 2012 WR, OR, AS, NR

Key: AS = Asian Record, NR = National Record, WR = World Record, OR = Olympic Record

Personal life

Sun's father, Sun Quanhong (孙全洪) was a volleyball player. Because his mother's last name is Yang, he was named Sun Yang. He wanted to be a singer in his childhood and his favorite singer is Avril Lavigne.[12]

In a press conference held by the Zhejiang Institute of Sports on 4 Feb, 2013, Sun Yang was formally criticised for his behaviours. The Institute also enforced disciplinary actions on Sun, temporarily banning him from any business-related activities. This came after Sun Yang's constant appearances in sponsored events and the exposure of his relationship with his girlfriend which, according to sources, resulted in missed training sessions as well as Sun's fallout with his coach, Zhu Zhigen.[13]

On 3 November 2013, Sun Yang was caught driving without licence following an accident in Hangzhou. He was ordered to be detained for 7 days by the police and fined 5000 yuan.[14][15] On November 6, State General Administration of Sports published the statement, said Sun temporarily banning him from any business-related activities, National team's camp and join any games.[16] On April 24, 2014, Yang had his endorsement and business-related ban lifted as a result of "good behavior".[17] The lifting of the ban came at the same time that long-time coach Zhu Zhigen resigned from his coaching duties due to health concerns.

See also


  1. ^ Sun's bio page from China's 2008 Olympic team website; retried 2011-01-19.
  2. ^ Sun's entry from; retrieved 2011-01-19.
  3. ^ Lin Dan, Wang Meng win China's CCTV Sports Personality of the Year, published 2011-01-17 by People's Daily Online. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  4. ^ "Lane 9 News Archive: Flash! FINA World Championships, Swimming: Sun Yang Downs Grant Hackett's 1500 Free World Record". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  5. ^ "Olympic swimming: China's Sun Chang beats rival Park to gold". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  6. ^ 2013年07月29日00:32 来源:新华社 (2010-09-09). "孙杨400米自由泳夺冠 什么意思". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  7. ^ "孙杨:用两枚金牌回报自己 把800米荣誉留在中国". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "China’s Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang served doping ban". The Guardian. 2014-11-24. Retrieved 2014-11-24. 
  12. ^ "孙杨盼被刘德华签下当歌手 自曝偶像是艾薇儿". 网易娱乐. 2012-08-21. 
  13. ^ "孙杨被通报批评、扣发津贴、禁止参加一切商业活动". 新华网. 2013-02-05. 
  14. ^ "公安人士曝孙杨曾出示假驾照". 新浪网. 2013-11-03. (simplified Chinese)
  15. ^ "孙杨无证驾驶被杭州警方罚款并处行政拘留7天". 新浪网. 2013-11-04. (simplified Chinese)
  16. ^ "孙杨被国家队开除:停训停赛停商业活动(图)". 网易. 2013-11-06. (simplified Chinese)
  17. ^

External links

  • Sun Yang's Weibo
Preceded by
Grant Hackett
Men's 1500 metre freestyle
world record holder (long course)

31 July 2011 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kosuke Kitajima
Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
2011 – 2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Wang Hao
Best new people of CCTV Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Fan Kexin
Preceded by
Lin Dan
Best male player of CCTV Sports Personality of the Year
2011, 2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michael Phelps
World Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
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