Sun Yang became the first Chinese man to win Olympic swimming gold with his 400m free victory last Saturday
Sun Yang, his place in China's sporting pantheon assured after his landmark triumph in the 400m freestyle, has his sights on a second Olympic gold in the 1,500m freestyle starting on Friday.
Sun became the first Chinese man to win Olympic swimming gold with his 400m free victory over 2008 champion Park Tae-Hwan of South Korea last Saturday.
He followed up by sharing silver in the 200m free with Park behind French revelation Yannick Agnel, then earned bronze in the 4x200m free relay -- all arguably warm-ups for his main event.
Sun broke Australian Grant Hackett's iconic 1,500m freestyle world record with a time of 14min 34.14sec to win the world title in Shanghai last year -- eclipsing a 10-year-old mark that had withstood the era of high-tech bodysuits.
Coming into London, doubters questioned whether Sun would be able to repeat his success outside of China, a question he has answered in emphatic style by completing his medal collection in his first three events.
"I don't feel like the star of these Games," Sun said when asked, but if he achieves his aim in the 1,500m he might.
"Now I want to win more medals for my country and myself," he said.
With Sun on the rise, Tunisian Oussama Mellouli's hopes of repeating as Olympic champion seem slim four years after he became the first African man to win Olympic swimming gold.
After a forgettable 2011, Mellouli has been hindered by a nagging shoulder injury in the build-up to his fourth Games.
This year Sun tops the world rankings ahead of Park -- who would no doubt dearly love to turn the tables on his continental foe.
Also in the mix is Italian teenager Gregorio Paltrinieri -- third fastest in the world this year -- and Britons Daniel Fogg and David Davies who can expect a boost from the home crowd in the demanding event.
After the heats on Friday, the 1,500m final will one of four gold-medal races wrapping up competition in the Aquatics Centre pool on Saturday.