By Lu Wenao / Global Times
China’s star swimmer Sun Yang has clinched three gold medals at the Asian Games in Indonesia, but he has provided a bad example for the saga over his outfit at the award ceremony triggered a backlash.
Having won a gold medal in the men’s 200-meter freestyle this week, Sun was supposed to wear a uniform provided by Chinese delegation sponsor Anta, but he instead wore a yellow outfit of 361° – his personal sponsor – on the podium.
The 361° uniform also featured two other personal sponsors of Sun, a violation of Asian Games regulations.
On the first day of competition, Sun was even seen wearing a swimming cap with a beverage brand on it – also a violation of Games regulations.
Having competed in major sporting events, Sun should be aware of sponsorship regulations. His moves are, indeed, puerile.
Sun’s teammates, including swimwear company Arena-sponsored swimmer Xu Jiayu who won gold in the 50-, 100-meter backstroke events, were all wearing the Anta uniform at the ceremony.
There’s no doubt that the national swimming team captain Sun provided a bad example.
When Sun won the 800-meter freestyle on Monday, he was seen mimicking Michael Jordan’s moves at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
The basketball legend used a US national flag to cover the Reebok logo on the uniform, which conflicts with the Jordan-endorsed Nike.
But Sun went further than that.
He had a Chinese national flag sticker on the Anta logo, a move which sparked criticism.
It’s nothing new to have conflicts between personal and team sponsors. When a team sponsor respects an athlete’s personal interests, their benefits should be respected in return.
Sun’s ability to win brings happiness to his fans, but his immature moves only backfired on his own reputation.
He only wore an Anta uniform after Tuesday’s win in the 400-meter freestyle.
Looking back at his controversial history, including driving without a license, Sun deserves to be severely punished if he wants to remain a captain.
Team China should decide if it really needs a magnet for controversy.