9 August, 2016. 14:15
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
Australia’s first Olympic gold medallist of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Mack Horton has felt the wrath of Chinese swimming fans today, after his well publicised sledging of Chinese rival, Sun Yang.
Prior to the race, Horton called Yang a “drug cheat” for testing positive to a banned substance in 2014, for which he served a three month ban.
Moments after taking out the race at Rio, Horton fiercely stood by his comments in the post-race press conference, “I used the words drug cheat because he tested positive,” Horton said after the race, defending his comments to a Chinese journalist.
However, with both his Facebook and Instagram accounts currently being mercilessly trolled by Chinese social media users, Swimming Australia worries that the 19-year-old Horton may be a bit out of his depth.
SA CEO Mark Anderson says “Mack has got a quick wit and is no doubt quite ballsy” but worries that the suburban Melbournite might not be able to ride out this wave of notoriety without a little bit of help.
“Obviously Australia is a world-renowned nation of sledgers, but we do worry that [Horton] might be a bit too kind-hearted to see this spectacle through,”
“His comments about Yang have so far come from an honest place, but things are starting to ramp up,”
“We just want to know that, when the going gets tough, our swimmers are well-equipped to verbally berate their competitors and their competitor’s fans with enough venom to walk out on top,”
While Horton has insisted that he ‘knows how to get down’ when it comes to sledging, both the IOC and Swimming Australia have worked together to support him through the next few weeks of Olympic hysteria – by enlisting the help of renowned Australian sledger, former international test cricket start, Merv Hughes.
“I’m honestly going to be fine. Everything I said was true,” says Horton.
“If I need to, I can take this way too far. But they are going to send over Merv Hughes just in case.”
at 54 years of age, Mervyn Gregory “Merv” Hughes, is well documented by sports historians and journalists alike – as one of the greatest men to ever call someone a cunt in the middle of an international sporting event.
The heavily-moustached sporting icon spoke to The Betoota Advocate shortly after arriving at the Rio international airport yesterday.
“I’m looking forward to working with Mack and the other youngsters,” he said.
“I have a few strategies that I think will help them in their sledging. The type of calls that transcend language and cultural barriers,”
“The moment I heard it was the Chinese, I was absolutely stoked. I’ve never had the chance to berate a Chinaman in the international arena,”
“I’ve brought Indians to tears before. The same with Pakistanis, British, Jamaicans and Sri Lankans – but the Chinese is a new challenge. I think Mack has got it in him to really take this thing to the next level.”
With Horton’s next event scheduled for the 15th of August, his work with Hughes will prove key to his performance over the next fortnight.
“First off, we are going to be focusing on social media.” says Hughes.
“There’s a lot of subtly in this game. The last thing you want to do is fuck up your translation like these Chinese Trolls… What the fuck does ‘Kangaroo Essence’ mean? Are they trying to call Mack a Kangaroo shit?”