Men’s 400 freestyle winner Mack Horton takes shot at dopers

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Vincent Pena
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Australia's Mack Horton celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 400-meter freestyle. (AP)
Australia’s Mack Horton celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men’s 400-meter freestyle. (AP)

Top-ranked world swimmer Australian Mack Horton took home the gold medal in the men’s 400-meter freestyle race, edging out defending Olympic and world champion Sun Yang of China by 0.13 seconds.

But the main storyline isn’t that he won the race, but the man Horton beat.

Reportedly, during a training session earlier this week, Yang and Horton were involved in some extra-curricular activities, during which Yang splashed water in the face of the Australian.

[Related: Last time U.S. swimming failed to win gold on first night: 1996]

Adding fuel to the fire, Horton has been notoriously outspoken about doping within the sport. Yang, as it turns out, served a doping suspension in secrecy in 2014 for three months. Needless to say, there was some bad blood between the two.

Although he didn’t take much offense to the splashing during training, Horton made some interesting comments about Yang’s doping history after the preliminary rounds.

According to ABC News:

“I don’t know if it’s a rivalry between me and him, just a rivalry between me and athletes who have tested positive,” Horton told Channel Seven when asked about their rivalry, referring to Sun’s 2014 drug ban.

Some fellow Australians also chimed in about the apparent rivalry.

The medal was the first gold for Australia in Rio, which was followed after with another gold from the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay.

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