The worldwide interest of the Summer Olympics is a phenomenon that takes place every four years and gives rise to unexpected moments of excitement. In some cases, it also offers a peek into the personality of athletes from countries outside of the United States and their approach to their individual competition.
A female Chinese swimmer named Fu Yuanhi is one of those individuals that have captured the attention of a worldwide audience. However, the reaction was due to her actions after she competed in her primary event, the 100 meter backstroke.
After the semifinal competition, Yuanhi became quite animated when she was informed by her interviewer from Chinese television that she had accomplished a personal best time of 58.95. Indicating that she believed her time hadn’t been less than 59 seconds, Yuanhi excitedly spoke about her delight in finding out the news and saying that she had held nothing back in anticipation of the finals competition.
Discussing how she had used all of her “mystic energy,” Yuanhi had to be calmed down by the interviewer. Asked about how she was able to come back from physical problems, Yuanhi indicated that she spent the three months leading up to the Olympics were moments of intense focus. At one point, that level of focus was bluntly indicated when she noted that there appeared to be no difference between life and death.
That lively interview ended by Yuanhi noting that there seemed to be little pressure in competing in the finals. One indication of her demeanor came at the end of the interview when she excitedly shouted as she walked away.
After the finals, Yuanhi was again interviewed and asked about coming up just 0.01 short of winning a silver medal, with Yuanhi jokingly placing the blame on her arms being too short. A follow-up question that noted scratches on her arms offered a window into the serious level of her focus.
Yuanhi indicated that she had deliberately scratched herself prior to the event as amotivating tool because of the combination of her fatigue and the fear of failure. That was followed by a query about the struggles she had undergone over the past few years.
In the midst of explaining herself, Yuanhi indicated that she hadn’t been able to win a medal. That caused the interviewer to immediately correct her by telling her that she had indeed finished in third place to win a bronze medal.
Yuanhi gave a look of shock after she was informed of the news and after a few seconds, her mood brightened considerably. She then expressed the fanciful wish to go back in time to offer advice to a younger version of herself.
That advice, which would have been when she was considering giving up her swimming dreams, would have been to say that all of the effort would be worth it. The interview then abruptly ended when she was afflicted by cramps and simply walked away.
When she was awarded her medal, Yuanhi again showed excitement that’s rarely seen unless a Chinese athlete wins a gold medal. That’s due to the country’s mindset that winning a silver or bronze medal is the equivalent of losing. In many previous cases, a runnerup from China has offered an apology for not winning.
Once indication of how popular Yuanhi has become to the worldwide audience can be seen from the number of people who have seen the clip of her interview after winning the bronze medal. In the first six days after being posted online, it’s been viewed more than 2.7 million times.