The parents of one Australian swimming hero have revealed they had to endure years of abuse and torture at the hands of Chinese thugs, all because their son chose to take a stand against a drug cheat.
Australian gold medallist Mark Horton hit the headlines last year when he refused to stand on the podium next to Chinese drug cheat Sun Yang at the world championships.
Four years ago, in 2016 Horton had outed Yang as a drug cheat, and the nightmare then began for his parents Andrew and Cheryl. Years of terror were forced upon the family, having their home broken into, the computer hacked, even threats against Mark’s younger brother. Strangers would appear outside their home in the middle of the night, believed to be students from the Chinese Communist Party, and they would make endless racket banging pots and pans.
The feud began at the Rio Olympics back in 2016, when Horton accused Sun of deliberately splashing him during training.
At the time Horton said, “I ignored him, I don’t have time or respect for cheats.” He went on to say, “I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing.”
He beat Sun for the 400-meter Olympic gold after branding him a drug cheat. This is when the abuse began, his parents told the Weekend Australian.
“We’ve had so many death threats that we’ve stopped taking them seriously,” Mr. Mark Horton’s father Andrew Horton said.
Yang didn’t have his gold medal taken away from him despite testing positive for a banned substance, and in 2019 the threats against Horton’s family increased.
“The biggest change was the intensity,” his father explained. “It was unrelenting. Every day and night in the second half of 2019, peaking in September, easing off in February this year.”
Sun was handed an eight-year ban in that same month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), after he destroyed a blood sample during a doping test.
Horton’s response reflected his love of the sport.
ST exclusive: Sun Yang’s career on the line, his twice-suspended doctor calling the shots in the doping control room also under scrutiny once more; a vial of blood smashed with a hammer; FINA DP lets him free on a technicality; WADA ‘looking into it’ 🧐https://t.co/O7Hst3Z2O2
— StateOfSwimming.com (@StateOfSwimming) January 27, 2019
“My stance has always been for a clean sport. It doesn’t matter about nations or athletes. Nothing changes,” Horton told Nine News after Sun’s ban.
“[The ban] doesn’t really matter. I just keep getting on with the job, to be honest.”
Horton himself has been subjected to death threats from Chinese fans and his former school reportedly decided not to name its new aquatic center in his honor, as it has strong business interests in China. That was part of the price he had to pay for taking a stand against Sun.
Sun’s fans did not see eye to eye with the Australian, unleashing on Horton with vile death threats aimed at both he and his mother. “I am glad to hear that your mother just died,” one user tweeted.
Another disturbing tweet aimed at the Aussie star suggested that he “should take care of his mum,” while another troll wrote, “Your mother is absent forever.”
“White pigs keep losing even they’re taking drugs 24/7,” one troll wrote.
“I’m just so sad for (you) guys that the court can help you ban Sun but can never teach you how to win in the swimming pool. Trash is trash.”
Even the recent Australian bushfires where many communities were destroyed and lives lost, was used to taunt Horton, “I think all Australian are loser, It is just a small country, A mountain fire can burn for four months, garbage country, garbage government! I also think after this international thing Chinese people will never buy Australian product,” one Twitter user wrote.
Horton will get the opportunity to defend his Olympic title in a field that will not include Sun if the CCP Virus sweeping the world allows the now canceled 2020 Olympics to go ahead at a later date.