Canadian speedskater Kim Boutin threatened after bronze-medal win.
Tuesday’s women’s 500-meter short track speed skating final in the Pyeonchang Winter Games ended in a photo finish and some brutal outrage.
Italian skater Arianna Fontana won the event in a heated race with the hosting-country’s favorite Choi Minjeong, which was close enough to need a photo finish.
But it was 23-year-old Canadian skater Kim Boutin who has drawn the ire of many South Koreans.
Choi, after losing first place, was then disqualified from winning the silver medal for interfering with other athletes. Boutin finished in fourth place, but was elevated to third after the disqualification. Yara van Kerkhof of Netherlands came in second.
The problem for many South Koreans is that Boutin looks to have done her share of interfering as well. A GIF of Boutin seeming to push Choi (in white) away from her has quickly gone around the internet, whipping some Olympic fans into a fury.
Shortly after the race, a hashtag of Choi’s name exploded on the internet. Many of the thousands of reactions blasted Boutin for getting the bronze medal, but plenty more tried to implore people to recognize the Olympic spirit of unity.
Boutin put up an Instagram post the night before the competition in preparation for the event, saying, “500m tomorrow morning. Are-you ready? 🇨🇦.”
But immediately following the event, the post was swarmed by outraged fans of Choi, racking up over 10,000 comments, most of which were critical of her performance.
Boutin has since deleted the post and made her Instagram account private.
Speed skating on a short track is known for its roughness and bumping into people is common in the sport. But that hasn’t quelled the outrage for Choi fans who demand to know why she was disqualified and Boutin wasn’t.