Travis Tygart, the head of the American anti-doping agency USADA, said he felt great sympathy for athletes like Horton and Scotsman Duncan Scott, who followed suit just a few nights later when he refused to have his photo taken – or shake hands with – Sun.
Both Horton and Scott were accused of poor sportsmanship and a degree of sour grapes but Tygart said he understood the frustrations of the athletes and that a clunky, slow-moving system was to blame for the entire mess.
“Shame on the system… and we’re part of the system,” Tygart said. “It’s a part that we don’t have control over but it does reflect on all of us trying to fight for clean sport. Shame on us for putting athletes in a position where they had to protest and not join the podium.
“That’s not their fault… that’s our fault and we should take responsibility for putting them in that position. Good on them for standing up when the system has let them down.”