(K. Brent Tomer),
AS THE reporter for CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, approached Fu Yuanhui, the swimmer was crouching on the poolside floor. Helped up by one of her teammates, Ms Fu, a bronze medalist in the 100m backstroke in Rio, apologised for struggling on her leg of the 4x100m medley relay on August 13th, in which China missed out on third place by just 0.17 seconds. Visibly in pain, Ms Fu explained that her period had begun the night before and that she was “fatigued, very tired”. Her split over 100m in the relay was 59.53 seconds, putting China in seventh place heading into the second leg of the race. Had Ms Fu repeated her medal-winning time of 58.76 seconds in the individual event, set on August 8th, China would have been in second place at the end of her portion of the race—and would have beaten Australia to the silver medal.
That Ms Fu’s performance in the 100m backstroke had worsened by 0.77 seconds in the space of five days—the difference between first and last place in the individual event was 0.78 seconds—escaped most onlookers. Many reporters focused instead on the stir her…Continue reading