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 weâ€™re part of the system,” Tygart said. “Itâ€™s a part that we donâ€™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.
“Thatâ€™s not their fault… thatâ€™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.”