Since the start of her popularity during the Rio Olympic Games, Chinese Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui has freely admitted to misgivings about her sudden life as an online celebrity.
Although Fu says she herself has not changed, the pace of her life is totally different than before.
"When I am at the airport, I have to act as sneaky as a thief. Otherwise people will recognize me. I have to wear sunglasses, but I'm nearsighted. Once I almost tripped! I feel like I have no freedom in my own life," the athlete said.
Indeed, Fu's Weibo followers, who numbered only in the thousands before the Rio Games, have now jumped to millions. Fu's "prehistoric power" comment made Fu an overnight celebrity, yet she feels it has also brought certain expectations regarding her personality. For instance, Fu said that some people now believe she is always jovial, goofy and in over-the-top high spirits.
Nevertheless, when asked whether she preferred her pre-Olympics training in Australia to her current life, Fu unhesitatingly chooses the latter: "I was so worn out during that time--I don't want to experience it again. I felt tired not only in my body but also my mind. Trainers kept telling me how many days were left before the Olympics, and how much time I had left for training. Under the high pressure, I almost broke down."
Of course, Fu's training eventually paid off when she earned an Olympic medal, and now she simply hopes to get back to the peaceful life she was living before the Games. After a short break, Fu will once again start training. She said she hopes to achieve better outcomes in the national games and World Championships.
"I think it's important for me to be an athlete first. I prefer my simple, happy life as an athlete."