Date
28 March 2017
Chinese netizens can't stop raving about how Fu Yuanhui is an absolute original amid the sea of Olympic athletes. Photos: Xinhua, 163.com
Chinese netizens can't stop raving about how Fu Yuanhui is an absolute original amid the sea of Olympic athletes. Photos: Xinhua, 163.com

Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui becomes an internet sensation

Swimmer Fu Yuanhui (傅園慧) has become the latest internet sensation in China.

And it’s not just because the 20-year-old finished among the top three in a key event at the Rio Olympics.

Netizens, for sure, applauded Fu’s feat of winning the bronze in the women’s 100m backstroke on Aug. 9, but what really caught their attention was her reaction and comments after making it through the semifinal a day earlier.

Appearing before a TV camera in an obvious state of excitement, Fu was a sight to behold due to her exaggerated facial expressions and adorable responses to a reporter’s queries.

When asked how she managed to make it through the semifinal despite very strong competition, the Hangzhou girl replied that she used all her “mystical powers” (洪荒之力). 

After learning that she clocked 58.95 seconds in her race, Fu exclaimed: “Wow! Am I so fast? I am very pleased.”

In the CCTV interview that has gone viral, Fu made several other comments along with wide-eyed facial expressions, prompting viewers to exclaim how she was a true original. 

In reflection of her popularity, a one-hour live video chat with Fu Wednesday attracted an audience of over 10 million, Guangdong News noted.

Live-streaming app Ingkee, which broadcast the video chat, prompted viewers to send “virtual gifts” to the swimmer.

The “virtual gifts” appear like emoji buttons, except they are real in-app purchases that charge users via online payment tools or platforms like Wechat Wallet.

However, Fu said in the video that she doesn’t want any of the gifts. So it might be the streaming app company that might reap additional revenue.

Meanwhile, cute cartoons and memes of Fu have gone viral on the Internet and are being circulated worldwide.

Some vendors on online mall Taobao are trying to cash in on Fu by launching products such as T-shirts, smartphone protective cases or other merchandise bearing images of the Olympic swimmer.

In related news, a music producer from Hebei has registered “mystical powers” as a trademark.

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DY/AC/RC

Fu Yuanhui’s remarks and facial expressions after her success at the Rio Olympics have inspired a host of memes and cartoons. Photo: Taobao.com


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