- California-born figure skater Zhu Yi renounced her US citizenship in 2018 to compete for China.
- But Chinese internet users have turned on the athlete after her poor showing at the Olympics so far.
- “I’m upset and a little embarrassed,” Zhu reportedly said of her Olympic debut.
US-born figure skater Zhu Yi, who gave up her American citizenship to compete for Team China, has come under fire on Chinese social media after falling in two separate events at the Winter Olympics.
The 19-year-old failed to land two separate jumps in the women’s short program team event on Sunday, and at one point crashed into the wall. She finished last in the event.
On Monday morning, she fell again, twice, in the women’s free skating event and was visibly upset by her performance as she covered her face and tried to hold back tears.
The backlash she faced on Chinese social media was immediate. Her name trended on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo, with one topic hashtag “Zhu Yi’s Winter Olympics debut is not perfect” gaining more than 33 million views within a few hours on Monday.
“Have we been deceived by the US? Is she an undercover spy?” one Weibo user wrote.
“I suspect that she was participating in a wrestling competition, and she was live broadcasting wrestling falls,” wrote another Weibo user.
After the Sunday event, the California-born athlete wiped away tears in an interview, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
“I’m upset and a little embarrassed,” Zhu was quoted as saying in the report.
“I guess I felt a lot of pressure because I know everybody in China was pretty surprised with the selection for ladies’ singles and I just really wanted to show them what I was able to do but unfortunately I didn’t,” she added.
While her performance has been met with a wave of online negativity, Chinese figure skater Jin Boyang told Chinese state-news agency Xinhua that he understood the pressure Zhu was under.
“Zhu Yi has always worked very hard,” he said. “We will all comfort her and hope that she can adjust her state, display her skills, and show her best self in subsequent competitions.”
Insider was not immediately able to contact Zhu’s team for comment for this story.
Zhu, who was born in California, renounced her American citizenship in 2018 to compete for China, which does not allow dual citizenship. According to the same SCMP report, she changed her name to Zhu Yi from Beverly Zhu.
“She should just go back to her old home, her father can remain,” a Weibo user commented below a thread calling for her to return to the US.
Zhu’s father, Zhu Songchun, is a well-known scientist specializing in artificial intelligence, per CNN. In 2020, he left the University of California, Los Angeles, to work at Peking University, the news outlet said.
The criticism Zhu is facing stands in contrast to the widespread praise surrounding Eileen Gu, another US-born athlete who gave up her American citizenship to compete for China at the Games.
The 18-year-old freestyle skier, who speaks fluent Mandarin, has been celebrated on Chinese social media for appearing to have a “love for the motherland.”
Courtesy By INSIDER