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Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui had already garnered Internet fame for her viral interviews and her expressive reaction to finding out she won a bronze medal. So when her team came fourth in the 4×100 medley relay, it wasn’t too surprising that she was honest about why she appeared to be struggling.
“I feel like I didn’t swim very well today,” Yuanhui said in a translated interview. The interviewer asked Yuanhui if she was suffering from stomach pain, as she had doubled over clutching her midsection.
“Actually, my period started last night,” said the Olympian. “So I’m feeling pretty weak and really tired. But this isn’t an excuse. At the end of the day I just didn’t swim very well.”
Yuanhui received praise from social media users for speaking so candidly about a topic that is still too often considered socially taboo to discuss in public.
I am so in love with Fu Yuanhui, literally my fav olympian outside of GB because she is FIERCE
— Ellie Webb (@elliexwebb) August 16, 2016
Fu Yuanhui is very quickly becoming my favourite Olympic athlete! Period talk ftw #Rio2016 #FuYuanhui
— Emma Dickson (@emmadickson416) August 16, 2016
Massive praise to Fu Yuanhui for bringing attention to menstruation struggles and the ways this can effect athletes.
— Stacey (@StaceyL_H) August 16, 2016
Fu Yuanhui is a hero.
— Ought Thoughts (@OughtThoughts) August 16, 2016
#FuYuanhui is a hero. Not just for China. Not just for sports. Not just for women. She’s an all-around gem #Olympics pic.twitter.com/KtJXJHLv7d
— Kedzie Teller (@Kedz) August 16, 2016
This is an especially poignant moment because of how menstruation is viewed in China. USA Today reports that there is a lack of education about menstruation, citing a study that only 2 percent of Chinese women use tampons. Some women fear that using one is akin to losing your virginity. China’s first domestically produced tampon, Crimson Jade Cool, is set to go on sale soon.
Here’s a look at when Yuanhui found out she won the bronze medal and an interview where she talks about her mystic energy.
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