Feature: Sun Yang swims to legend status

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 14, 2019
Adjust font size:

By Chu Yi and Yue Ranran

KUNMING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- In 2008, Sun Yang competed for his first Olympics in Beijing, finishing eighth in the 1,500-meter freestyle final, aged just 17.

Now 28, Sun is swimming to his fourth Olympics. With more than 100 gold medals around his neck, he has already become the first swimmer in history to earn world titles at every middle and long distance freestyle event, from 200 meters to 1,500 meters. Sun has swam to legendary status on the world stage.

In about ten years, Sun has grown from a freshman swimmer who often cried at important competitions to a mature captain leading China's national team to even more glory.

"Swimming is my life. I spent my whole youth toiling in the pool and my happiness comes from endeavors and progress made in the water," Sun said.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist and nine-time world champion is a lesson in perseverance and the possibilities.

Pulling water back fast and strong with high intensity kicking, Sun has been honing his skills for about two and a half hours one afternoon, talking with his coaches for improvement on even the most trivial detail.

Paddles, fins, and kickboard are also used sometimes to train different parts of his body.

"He is doing nine swimming sessions, about eight kilometers each, and three gym sessions every week," said Sun's international coach Denis Cotterell.

Sun, with his national swimming teammates, is now training at a winter camp in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, to prepare for the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is at an altitude of more than 1,800 meters above sea level.

"Training in the highlands can help athletes be better prepared physically," said Zhu Zhigen, coach of Sun Yang.

"2019 is vital for our preparation for the Tokyo Olympics and we should seize the opportunity in South Korea, as top swimmers will be there for the World Championships this year," Zhu added.

Sun has been in Kunming for 25 days and is always the first to come and last to leave the training pool every day.

"This is an attitude to myself. I want to be more focused," he said.

Denis is happy about Sun Yang's mindset at work. "I see his discipline and his focus. He keeps maturing and I can see this in his work."

Sporting bleached hair, blurred fingerprints and plaster all over his back, the days of repeated training have left their mark on Sun's body, but he still keeps in high spirits.

"Injuries are common for athletes. Suffering is part of the game, especially when you have to ensure the quality of execution in every movement. But it's never easy to get the crown," he said with a smile.

Sun regards this year as a "quiz," and is confident about defending his titles in the World Championships. "I think I'm capable and I won't give myself too much pressure. Maintaining a stable physical state is the top priority."

"Obstacles and hardships might get in the way, but my perseverance plus strict trainings and smooth cooperation with my team can help me make new breakthroughs," he added.

The national swimming star believes that time is the key. "Only time can tell. Good results need time, and efforts will finally pay off."

Sun attributes his success to his team. "For a long time, my leaders, coaches, professors of my doctoral program and my family have all been working for the best of me, guaranteeing my training and daily life. Without them, nothing would be close to possible."

"2020 might be my last Olympics and I will try to make a good ending to repay my family," Sun said.

"We shouldn't live in the past. Only when when we make efforts to live up to our reputation and responsibilities can we make new and continuous progress," he added. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter