Mack Horton has revealed he was bombared by half a million messages of hate from China during the Olympic Games.
Swim star Horton provoked fury after calling Chinese rival Sun Yang a 'drug cheat' before the 400m freestyle final in Rio, and then beat the 2012 Olympic champion in a thrilling showdown.
Horton has now explained exactly how much online abuse he received in the wake of his comments as he became a target in the world's most populous nation.
'It affected my social media more than it affected me. I had 500,000 comments on one of my Instagram photos and it was just all hate from Chinese people,' Horton told Channel 7 after returning from Rio on the official Australian Olympic team flight.
'I was aware of it, but I didn't let it distract me during the week.'
Snowdog88, Itscoldhere, Antarctica, 22 minutes ago
Half a million messages is nothing ... More than half a million people will boycott the product(s) that sponsor you ... You have done yourself a disservice with your childish behaviour ... apologise or repent at leisure.
LindaCasey, Adelaide, Australia, 7 minutes ago
Oh shut up.
Snowdog88, Itscoldhere, Antarctica, 31 minutes ago
What did you expect ... YOU started spewing hate at one of their national sporting heroes. If Sun was not clean, the IOC would not have cleared him. Why did you pick on him ? Grow up .... and think before you open your mouth to spew abuse at others ... The Olympics is an opportunity for the world to forge friendly relations.
graham21, london, United Kingdom, 1 hour ago
That's why they have an Olympic Committee, your an athlete competing like the rest, it was not your place or right to accuse anyone.
LindaCasey, Adelaide, Australia, 6 minutes ago
No accusations, only truth. Suck it up and get over it.
kelcha84, Melbourne, Australia, 2 hours ago
He should of kept his mouth shut
TruthOrDare, Sydney, Australia, 2 hours ago
You obviously said it to generate a negative response
Grumpy Ken, Colchester, United Kingdom, 2 hours ago
Only half a million. Bearing in mind the population of China, I think he should have got more than that. He was trolling.