Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui is the internet’s favourite swimmer right now, not only for her goofy post-race interviews but for speaking openly on something that is usually swept under the carpet.
Fu Yuanhui won the hearts of even more internet users when she spoke about periods in an interview conducted after her 4×100 medley relay.
While her teammates were being interviewed, Yuanhui could be seen crouching. The CCTV interviewer asked if her stomach was hurting and she admitted it was hurting after apologizing to her teammates for not swimming her best. Yuanhui said:
I feel like I didn’t swim well today and I want to apologize to my team mates for that… yeah my period started last night 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 .
The Chinese team had come fourth, losing their chances at winning a medal in the 4×100 medley relay.
It is refreshing to have Fu Yanhui talk about how a menstrual cycle affects a woman’s health and abilities. In sports, periods are still very much a taboo. Women are expected to keep quiet and live through it, in fact, some forget that every month, when a woman bleeds, it is accompanied by pains that range from mild to utterly severe.
The internet was fully behind the 20-year-old talking about something people–especially men would rather not have a woman talk about.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter, the athlete got a lot of praise:
“Wow, she still has to swim when she’s on her period? This is heartbreaking,’ one fan wrote.
“It is a normal physiological phenomenon, so why can’t we mention it? Fu Yuanhui is awesome!” another said.