Anyone who has suffered through painful menstrual cramps knows how hard it can be to even get out of bed in the morning, let alone compete on the world's stage, but that's exactly what Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui did.
The 20-year-old bronze medal winner in the women's 100 metre backstroke opened up about struggling during the 4 x 100 medley relay after getting her period the day before.
“I feel I didn’t swim well today,” she told a Chinese reporter. “I let my teammates down.” She went on to say: "Yes (my belly hurts) because my period came yesterday. I'm feeling a bit weak and exhausted, but this is not an excuse. Anyway, I didn't do well."
Though Fu felt responsible for her team placing fourth in the relay, thus just missing the podium, fans online were quick to remind her of how strong she is and how proud they are of her.
— Dominique P-C (@DominiqueP_C) August 16, 2016
Massive praise to Fu Yuanhui for bringing attention to menstruation struggles and the ways this can effect athletes.
— Stacey (@StaceyL_H) August 16, 2016
— Joey (@Joeycalireapple) August 16, 2016
Though the reactions online were mostly positive, Jezebel.com reports that some Chinese viewers believe Fu lied about being on her period because of the popular misconception that women cannot swim while on their periods as it would contaminate the water.
While period talk is common in both Canada and the U.S.A, in China the topic is still considered taboo. In fact, it is still difficult to find tampons in Chinese pharmacies, CNN reports.
The Internet fell in love with Fu last week after discovering her bubbly personality in a series of interviews. “Whoooaah! I was so fast!,” Fu exclaimed after finding out she clocked in at only 58.95 seconds in the women’s 100 metre backstroke semifinal. “I didn’t hold back… I used all of my mystic energy!,” she added. The energy certainly helped as Fu went on to win China's first medal in backstroke the next day.