It has been during the podium ceremonies rather than in the pool where some of the most headline-catching action has taken place at the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea.
On Tuesday, British swimmer Duncan Scott followed the example set by Australian Mack Horton earlier in the championships by protesting against Sun Yang.
The Chinese swimmer, a triple Olympic champion, served a three-month doping ban in 2014 for using a prohibited stimulant and is now facing a fresh set of allegations. Those include that he smashed vials containing his blood with a hammer during an out of competition test. FINA initially ruled that Sun had not committed a violation but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have appealed that decision. He faces a lifetime ban if WADA wins that case.
It was for those reasons that both Scott and Horton have staged protests against Yang.
Scott refused to shake Sun's hand and pose for photos with the 27-year-old during the medal ceremony for the 200m freestyle. Sun won gold after Lithuanian Danas Rapsys was disqualified for moving in his blocks while Scott finished in a dead heat for bronze.
Sun Yang sale sul podio e insulta il britannico Duncan Scott, giunto 3°, reo di non avergli stretto la mano! Fino a quando il nuoto dovrà sorbirsi le bizze di questo pazzo? pic.twitter.com/PohjLPQFVk
— Giorgio Spalluto (@GeorgeSpalluto) July 23, 2019
Duncan Scott the latest athlete to protest Sun Yang’s presence at the #WorldChamps. Refuses to join him on top of the podium. pic.twitter.com/QvMvcfHT4T
— Veronica Eggleton (@veggleton) July 23, 2019
Sun subsequently confronted Scott following the ceremony, appearing to call him a "loser".
"I'm team Mack," Scott told BBC Sport.
"If [Sun] can't respect our sport then why should I respect him? I think a lot of people, everyone in swimming, got behind what Mack did.
"Hopefully this will happen in more events."
Sun Yang gets in bronze medalist Duncan Scott's face after the 200m freestyle medal ceremony (Sun won gold after Lithuanian Danas Rapsys was DQed for a false start). Scott and Sun did not appear to shake hands, and Sun shouted in Scott's direction earlier in the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/0ilhiSorqt
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) July 23, 2019
On Sunday, Horton refused to take a place on the podium with Sun for the 400m freestyle ceremony.
"I just won't share a podium with someone who has behaved in the way he has," said the Australian silver medallist who has previously called Sun a "drug cheat".
Sun addressed Horton's protest in a press conference, saying "Disrespecting me is OK but disrespecting China was very unfortunate and I felt sorry about that."
FINA subsequently sent a warning to letter to Swimming Australia and Horton, saying in a statement:
"While FINA respects the principle of freedom of speech, it has to be conducted in the right context.
"As in all major sports organisations, our athletes and their entourages are aware of their responsibilities to respect FINA regulations and not use FINA events to make personal statements or gestures."
“This is going to continue to brew over the next 12 months.”
Tensions were high on the men’s 400m free podium, Australian Mack Horton refused to stand next to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang who's facing allegations of doping rule violations that could result in a #Tokyo2020 ban pic.twitter.com/9QN1VfUln7
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 21, 2019