Sun Yang, a three-time Olympic champion and one of China’s most celebrated athletes,’s suspension from eight years of swimming was reduced to four years on Tuesday.
The decision means that Sun (29) will miss the Summer Olympics, but the timing of the penalty kick is structured in such a way that he could participate in the Games in Paris within three years.
Sun’s case was heard by a panel of judges at the Swiss Sports Arbitration Court after his previous suspension, which was heard by another panel of arbitrators, was overturned in December.
The penalty against Sun is retroactive, allowing him to compete again in May 2024, a few weeks before the opening ceremony of the Paris Games.
Sun was initially banned for eight years for refusing to submit blood and urine samples to doping officials, but his suspension was overturned by a federal court in Switzerland in December. The court’s ruling comes after Sun’s lawyers testified that the chairman of the three-member panel that issued the Sun’s suspension in February 2020 made racist comments about China on social media.
The new ruling follows a pattern that has developed in recent years in which CAS, as the court is known, has previously partially upheld a fine. In recent years, the court has reduced the fines imposed on Russia for its state-sponsored doping program. these decisions will allow athletes to compete in Tokyo this summer largely without obstacles.
Sun, a six-time Olympic medalist and the first Chinese man to win a swimming medal at the Games, fought a multi-year battle with the World Doping Agency to retain his qualification for international competition.
WADA filed a complaint against Sun at CAS in 2019 after the international governing body of Swim refused to punish it for refusing to cooperate with three anti-doping officials who traveled to his home in China to collect blood and urine samples .
Following a trial in November 2019 affected by translation issues, the court agreed with the anti-doping agency’s underlying allegation that Sun violated rules to manipulate or obstruct drug proceedings.
The new verdict to reduce the sentence follows a second trial that, unlike the first, was closed to the news media and the public.