Olympic swimmer Sun Yang's jail stint no piece of pie for fellow inmates

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 4:08pm

After serving his week-long punishment for driving without a licence, Chinese Olympic swimmer Sun Yang managed to dodge a media scrum of almost 50 reporters when he was released from detention on Monday morning, Chinese media reported.

Sun snuck out a side door of the Hangzhou detention centre at around 8am and was whisked away in a van with tinted windows.

Chinese media have reported a variety of rumours about Sun’s stay in the centre, speculating that he received special treatment and even publishing a floorplan of his jail cell. 

The Wuhan Morning News wrote that chefs in the centre accommodated Sun’s decision to eat a vegetarian diet during his stay, because officials were concerned the meat served to inmates might contain chemical additives or residue that could interfere with Sun's health or later doping tests. Unfortunately for other inmates, Sun's diet preference was imposed on all of them, according to a man who told the newspaper he served time in the detention centre at the same time as the Olympic swimmer.

“The guards explained that the Olympian did not dare eat meat prepared in the detention centre for fear that bad meat would harm his health. Because the kitchen was not allowed to prepare a special meal for him, everyone else was forced to eat vegetarian food with him,” the man told reporters from the Wuhan paper outside the gate of the jail.

After a few days, many inmates found the vegetarian diet unbearable, and voiced their wishes that Sun would leave, according to the man, who would not give his name.

Sun did not return to his home, nor did he go to his swim team dormitory, but was staying in an undisclosed location in order to “avoid being disturbed”, said Zhang Yadong, the vice president of the Zhejiang College of Sports, where Sun trains.

The Chinese Swimming Administrative Centre has banned Sun from training, competing and appearing in public events.

Sun was fined 2,000 yuan (HK$2,526) and sentenced to one week’s detention after he was discovered driving without a licence after his luxury SUV was involved in a minor collision with a bus in Hangzhou last week.