Debutant figure skater Zhu Yi falls again, breaks down in tears
Published: Feb 07, 2022 09:29 PM
Chinese figure skater Zhu Yi Photo: VCG

Chinese figure skater Zhu Yi Photo: VCG

Zhu Yi, an American-born figure skater who represents China, shed her tears on the ice after falling again in the women's free skate event on Monday morning amid brewing online criticism. 

"I made some mistakes and I hope to adjust myself," Zhu said. She said that the reason why she burst into tears was because she felt moved by the applause from the audience to comfort and encourage her, but also felt upset by her performance. 

The 19-year-old delivered an error-riddled performance on Monday in the women's free skate with two falls, earning a score in women's singles free skating with 91.41 points, after the failure in her debut show on Sunday, in which she failed to land two separate jumps, and crashed into the wall at one point. 

After Zhu's debut on Sunday, Chen Lu, a former Chinese figure skater and previous Olympic bronze medalist, commented that the biggest challenge for Zhu is how to perform normally, the same as in training. 

"For Zhu, the biggest enemy is herself. She had to overcome her demons, her fears, her pressure, and bring out the best in herself, and that was her victory," Chen told media.  

A wave of criticism and grumbles from some netizens fermented on social media after Zhu fell flat on the ice, finishing last in the women's short program team event on Sunday.

Some netizens criticized her of not being fluent in Chinese and some even speculated that she only got her place in the Chinese team because of her family background. 

Wang Dazhao, a Beijing-based senior sports commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that falling on the ice is normal in winter sports games. 

"A high-scoring figure skater's performance not only requires beautiful movement but consistency among movements, which is not easy to finish. Her movements in the game that led to her fall are not that difficult but as an Olympic debutant, it is understandable to make mistakes and even fall." 

On Monday, China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo suspended 93 accounts on its platform from publishing content and deleted some 300 posts for launching personal attacks on Olympic athletes.

Some netizens said that Zhu's case is obviously being taken advantage of by some people to promote populism. Some also sent comfort and encouragement to the young athlete. 

"Come on, Zhu Yi, don't be discouraged! You are already great!" one netizen wrote. 

"It is not easy for athletes to raise the national flag and play the national anthem in the stadium. Training for them was very hard. We must be rational!" another netizen said.

Born in Los Angeles, Zhu won the women's title in the novice division at the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California before she was naturalized as a Chinese citizen the following year.