China’s Zhu Yi left Olympic ice in tears after falling twice in Monday’s free skate during the team competition.
The U.S.-born skater competing for China was previously the subject of online vitriol on Chinese social media platform Weibo after falling in Sunday’s short program. Her finish in the short program saw host nation China fall from third place to fifth. “Zhu Yi has fallen” trended on Weibo late Sunday after she crashed to the ice and missed another jump later in her performance.
According to CNN, the hashtag gained roughly 200 million views, with some of the online criticism questioning why China selected a U.S.-born athlete for the figure skating team. She was born in Los Angeles to parents who immigrated from China and relinquished her U.S. citizenship in 2018 in order to compete for her parents’ home country.
The 19-year-old was visibly upset after her short program.
“I’m upset and a little embarrassed,” she told reporters on Sunday. “I guess I felt a lot of pressure because I know everybody in China was pretty surprised with the selection for ladies’ singles and I just really wanted to show them what I was able to do but unfortunately I didn’t.“
A day later, Zhu was back on the ice for the women’s free skate, the final event in the team competition. She landed her first two jumps but fell to the ice on her third, a triple-flip. She fell again on her next jump.
When she completed her free skate, she broke down in tears on the ice. China finished in fifth place, while the Russian Olympic Committee secured gold. The United States won silver and Japan won bronze.