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Young Mack Horton, the gold medallist in the 400 freestyle has been castigated for his comments about drug cheating. As a nation, Australia has been highly criticised by the Chinese central media. Mere convicts, built from off-cuts with little culture. We may not be a military super power; however, Australia is a sporting super power. With 24 million people we are able to compete with the 290 million of the US, 670 of the UK and 1 billion of India and China. We do this on a highly implemented and integrated anti-drug program through ASDA and WASDA.

An individual, who comes from impoverished and poor heritage, can explain why they cheat to win. They need to because victory gives them a lifestyle for themselves and their family which they otherwise would not be able to obtain. There are many examples of Olympians with such histories from varied nations competing. They may not celebrate it; however they need it to survive. Sun Yang is not from such a background, his reportedly privileged background in fact gave him an advantage.

It should not be condoned, but empathy for those people should be acknowledged. Celebration, how can you celebrate when you know that you have cheated to be victorious?

I have played in many sporting groups and am well know as a highly competitive and aggressive sportsman. Winning wasn’t everything, it was the only thing in my opinion. I even hate losing in a game of monopoly, but I want to celebrate victory. I always wanted to be able to sit in front of my own mirror and accept that my victory was deserved due to my work ethic, my skills or a sporting lucky break. Therefore, I personally cannot understand why any one individual could want to celebrate a victory when it wasn’t earned.

What more, it should greatly concern the world that for the last 50 years, various nations around the world have celebrated victories after having State motivated corruption. Drug cheats are just as corrupt as any person who pays a bribe. They gain an advantage over a person not based on their speed, their strength or their skills, but on a chemical program which advances them beyond their own ability.

What pushes a nation to want to celebrate success when it has not been achieved? Where is a country’s culture, when the state says it’s okay to win by cheating? Don’t set out to achieve and do the work necessary, take a short cut and cheat. Is this a culture that the world could see as deep and meaningful? We think not! In fact, this is so against the ‘fair go’ motto that encompasses the Australian compass that it should come as no shock we stand by Horton’s refusal to apologise.

At the moment the focus is on China. If it was just China, we could accept it. But the Russians, East Germans, Bulgarians, Canadians etc have engaged in an organised structured drug cheating program. How can this be representative of any great and binding culture?