There are many reasons to be disillusioned with sport at the moment
For every Cricket World Cup final that remains level after 51 overs, Wimbledon final that is similarly poised after four sets and 24 games and Netball World Cup final decided by the odd goal in 103, there are a multitude of less appetising storylines.
For every excuse to gasp and cheer there are many more to sigh and boo.
Tales abound of disillusioned athletes walking away from events they have long dreamed of contesting, drug cheats continuing to compete despite overwhelming evidence against them and, even more depressingly, world governing bodies demonstrating the backbone of a jellyfish by allowing them to do so.
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The World Swimming Championships going on in South Korea this week have witnessed all of the above.
On paper, China's Sun Yang is one of the best athletes on the planet. He's the only swimmer to win Olympic gold over 200, 400 and 1500 meters, and also has 10 world championship gold medals to his name.
However, swimming is not contested on paper but in water and when it comes to Sun, it's as murky as the Mumbai sewerage system.
Handed a three-month drug suspension back in 2014 and branded a cheat at the Rio Olympics, Sun has more recently been accused of using a hammer to smash a vial containing his blood sample and is facing further doping violation allegations that could result in a ban from the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Swimming's world governing body FINA mirrored the International Olympic Committee's approach to Russian athletes at the last Olympics and opted to issue a warning but allow him to compete.
“This is going to continue to brew over the next 12 months.”— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) July 21, 2019
Tensions were high on the men’s 400m free podium, Australian Mack Horton refused to stand next to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang who's facing allegations of doping rule violations that could result in a #Tokyo2020 ban pic.twitter.com/9QN1VfUln7
When Sun claimed a record fourth 400m freestyle win on Sunday, it was again left to his fellow swimmers to make the stand that FINA was too weak to do.
Refusing to share a podium with a rival he has long sought to be adequately punished, Australia's runner-up Mack Horton said his overriding emotion was: "Frustration. I think you know in what respect. I don't think I need to say anything. His actions and how it has been handled speaks louder than anything I could say."
The eloquent Horton has plenty of company on the Sun Cheat bandwagon. America's double Olympic champion Lilly King said this week she was "not remotely comfortable with FINA's approach to doping" adding: "They could start with not letting people who have smashed blood vials in tests compete in their meets. That's really sketchy."
But even this comment was not as blunt as French swimmer Camille Lacourt's observation: "Sun Yang, he pisses purple."
The other distressing story to emerge from the Australian camp in Gwangju was the mysterious withdrawal of the Dolphins' world record-breaking 4x100m freestyle relay team member Shayna Jack on the eve of the championships.
The 20-year-old took to social media with the message: "It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from world championships due to personal reasons. I appreciate everyone's support and patience. Thank you all."
As speculation grew around Jack's reasons, an almost identical scenario was being played out at the Tour de France where another Aussie, Rohan Dennis, dramatically left the race the day before the time trial he was favourite to win.
Amid speculative stories of frustration over his outfit and/or bike, reporters could only hint at possible explanations with the Sydney Morning Herald's Rupert Guinness even finding an angle to Richie Porte's home town. Guinness cited the South Australian's appearance on Stanley Street Social, the podcast put together by Launceston's former national cycling team member Alex Clements.
"To this day, there are times when I think 'what the hell am I doing?'," Dennis said in the hour-long chat.
"In 2018 I reckon there were half a dozen times when I thought 'I could quit - right now' and January last year was the big one ... I did not want to race my bike ever again. I was over this sport. But after a while you snap out of it and maybe it's a bit of a depressed period, for a week or something, then you realise why you like it again."
The explanations behind the actions of Jack and Dennis remain untold but whenever there is any suggestion of a possible mental health issue, reporters take an understandably defensive line.
No better proof of this is available than the Australian media's delicate coverage of Majak Daw's return to football following what was repeatedly called his "fall" from Melbourne's Bolte Bridge despite widespread reports of the North Melbourne player arguing with his girlfriend before taking a dose of sleeping medication.
But none of these tales from sport's darker sides come close to the brazen drug scandal by which all brazen drug scandals will forever be measured.
The next time you find yourself with a spare 121 minutes and your kids' Netflix password, do yourself a favour and watch Icarus.
Winner of last year's best documentary Oscar, it provides the platform for the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov to detail his country's state-sponsored drug program which meanders between suspicious heart attacks for whistleblowers to sample swapping through holes in walls.
Olympic officials responded to its shocking revelations by allowing Russian athletes to participate under a neutral flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia."
What sport wouldn't give for a governing body with the moral judgement and backbone of people like Mack Horton.
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