Rio 2016: Sun turning to Phelps for inspiration


It has been a topsy-turvy Olympic Games for Sun Yang but the Chinese swimming star knows he has plenty of time in the pool as he looks to follow in the footsteps of the evergreen Michael Phelps.

After missing out on gold in the 400 metre freestyle but reigning supreme in the 200m, Sun's campaign came to a disappointing end on Friday as he failed to defend his 1500m title at Rio 2016.

Feeling the after-effects of a fever, Sun bowed out in the heats, four years on from producing a record-setting swim in London.

The 24-year-old was relatively upbeat post-race, however, preferring to turn to 22-time gold medallist Phelps for inspiration, with the most decorated Olympian still setting the pace at 31 years of age.

"I think it's amazing and unbelievable what Phelps has been doing and I'm quite excited about it as well," Sun said.

"I hope I can do the same thing and still be competing at 31 or 32. Actually, I do believe I'll still be competing in the pool when I'm 31.

"Now it's a difficult time for Chinese swimming and that makes me want to try my best to carry on swimming. Phelps' own persistence actually encourages me to work harder and be more strict about my training because every athlete would love to take it a little bit easier in training. Phelps has set a great model for me to keep me motivated.

"I often spend time thinking, when I'm doing hard work, that my opponents are training even harder so I don't have any reason or excuse to give up or take a rest. I do respect him a lot.

"I also hope the best for him in his life after swimming. I've spent time watching him train and I can learn from him in every aspect, from his control in the pool to the techniques he's using."