By Michael Evans
Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang has been disciplined for misconduct, the Zhejiang College of Sports announced last week, following months of rumored conflict between the star athlete and his trainers.
Sun has reportedly skipped over 40 days of training, and coaches say that he has neglected practice while being preoccupied with money-making endorsements and his relationship with flight attendant girlfriend Nian Nian.
The 22 year old star has been banned from all commercial activity and fined one month’s allowance by the college, where he is currently enrolled, the China Daily reports.
“This place is for good athletes, not for athletes with privilege,” said Li Jianshe. “Although Sun Yang has realized what was wrong with him and he promised to put it right, we have to punish him as everyone is equal when it comes to rules.”
The advertising ban is likely to hurt Sun, currently a spokesperson for Yili Dairy, sportswear maker 361 Degrees, and Coca Cola, whose commercial value has been estimated at 10 million yuan after his London Olympic wins last summer.
The media and netizens seem to agree with the college, with one Xi’an newspaper commenting that Sun “is still a son of the country and he has no right to negotiate and must submit.” A Sina Weibo poll found 37,000 votes in favor of Sun’s punishment, with just 7,000 against.
But in spite of the harsh sanctions and public criticism, there’s one thing they can’t take away from Sun Yang: his new wax likeness unveiled last Monday at Madame Tussaud’s Shanghai.
[h/t: Beijing Cream]