The Olympic Games are supposed to bring people together, but they’re having the opposite effect for Kim Boutin, who took bronze in the 500m short track speedskating final this week.
During her heat, the 23-year-old Canadian athlete was neck-and-neck with South Korea’s Choi Min-jeong, but Choi was disqualified for interfering. As soon as the call was made and Boutin accepted her medal at the podium, she started receiving backlash, including death threats, on social media in Korean and English, as reported by The Korea Herald. The publication also confirmed that she was bombarded with at least 10,000 comments, mostly attacking her and pointing out that she didn’t deserve the win.
Since then, the skater has made her accounts private, which isn’t fair and is quite frankly heartbreaking. Earning a medal at the Games should be a proud moment and she shouldn’t have to hide her celebration from the world.
“Instead of ripping people apart, how about we congratulate them, and share their joy,” one Twitter user posted about Boutin. “Support these amazing individuals who have worked so hard to represent their countries. #kimboutin #slaygirlslay.”
At this point, the bronze medalist has yet to release an official statement, but Canada’s Olympic Committee announced that safety is currently their top priority. “We are working closely with Speed Skating Canada, our security personnel, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” they said in a statement, according to the BBC.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams has addressed the situation, saying, “None of us can control social media and the public has the right to say what they want, but we would ask anyone to respect the athletes and support their work.”
Just remember this next time you watch an event and you don’t agree with its outcome. Good vibes and camaraderie are really what it’s all about.