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Fu Yuanhui: an athlete who actually enjoys sports

By Zhang Tianrui (People's Daily Online)    15:01, August 09, 2016
Fu Yuanhui: an athlete who actually enjoys sports
Fu Yuanhui's funny and exaggerated facial expressions

With her time of 58.76 seconds, Fu Yuanhui won a bronze medal and set a new Asian record in women' s 100m backstroke at the Rio Olympic Games on Aug. 8. However, before she even got into the pool, Fu was already popular online thanks to her funny and exaggerated facial expressions.

And on Aug. 7, after the women's backstroke semifinal, Fu offered an exaggerated reaction to her best performance. She told a CCTV reporter, "I've been utilizing prehistoric powers," which has even become a viral Internet meme.

Fu's frankness and humor have won her countless fans, many of who have followed her on social media. But where does this level-headedness and positivity come from? In part, it seems, from Fu's family.

"We have a joyful family, and we all have the same kind of personality," Fu's father Fu Chunsheng explained. He said that at first his daughter learned to swim for no reason other than fitness. And even as she became more professional, her family both supported her and kept her grounded. Before the trial match for the Olympic Games, Fu sat up chatting with her parents until midnight.

"We did this to try to reduce the pressure for her...We told her just to do her best before she left for Rio, and that the results themselves didn't matter," Fu's father said. He also explained that his daughter often acts crazy or goofy as a means of decompressing.

"Training is quite laborious for her. So I tell her to be happy in any way she can," Fu's father said.

In daily life, Fu can also be quiet and serious. She enjoys reading, and sometimes immerses herself in books. Fu's personality has earned her many friends on China's national team, including others who are outgoing like herself, and also those who are more introverted like Ye Shiwen, a 2012 Olympic champion.

Fu's story has made headlines. According to a commentary published on Aug. 9 on the front page of People's Daily, audiences have been flocking to Fu's social media in droves. "Behind this trend is a clear admiration for athletes who manage to relax and enjoy the games despite immense pressure," said People's Daily.

Fu won a bronze medal in women' s 100m backstroke
(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor: Zhang Tianrui,Bianji)

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