The African award was introduced in 2004,  the year in which South Africa won the men's 4 × 100 m freestyle relay at the Olympics . Although Joan Harrison ( 1952 ) and Penny Heyns ( 1996 ) had won individual gold medals for South Africa, the 2004 victory was the first time that an African relay team won a medal, indicating their increasing depth. In the same Olympics, Zimbabwe 's Kirsty Coventry 's won three medals, including one gold, making her the first African swimmer outside of South Africa to stand on the podium.   Coventry has won the female award nine times. South African Chad le Clos won five men's awards in a row, and South African sprinter Roland Schoeman four,  and in total South African swimmers have claimed twelve awards. In 2008, Ous Mellouli of Tunisia broke the South African and Zimbabwean duopoly after becoming the first African male to win an individual Olympic gold medal.  
A month after the World Championships, Sun competed in China's 12th National Games , which are held every four years. At this competition, Sun was vying to become the first man to win seven gold medals at a single championship. To do this, he added the 100 metre freestyle to his repertoire, typically an event reserved for sprinters. With the games holding the same schedule as the Olympics, he first competed in the 400 metre freestyle, winning in 3:, over a second ahead of Hao Yun . The following day, he won the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay event, swimming the anchor leg in seconds. He followed his performances the next day by setting a new Asian record in the 200 metre freestyle with a time of 1:, about half a second faster than his time in London. This time was a follow up to the 1: anchor leg he had swum on the 4 × 200 metre freestyle relay the 2013 World Championships. He showed his versatility the next day when he won bronze in the 100 metre freestyle, getting under 49 seconds for the first time with a time of seconds. 
Others were more ambivalent. “This country is full of propaganda everywhere, asking you to love the country and love the Party. If you disagree, you will feel very uncomfortable,” said Dingding, a 22-year old college student in the southern province of Guangdong who did not give her surname. Dingding said in the same interview that “the fundamental basis for any political discussion in China is that you are a patriot.” Being anything else in China “would be very tiring, so I choose to live a more relaxing life.” That requirement seems to have been extended to Chinese who live abroad. In January, the Party issued a new directive to education officials, calling for more “patriotic education,” and President Xi Jinping said in April that Chinese students abroad must be a focus of that effort.