Chinese Olympic Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Shocked Fans By Talking About Her Period

Fu Yuanhui is basically all of us when we're PMSing.

You probably already know Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui for her charming post-race interviews and hilarious facial expressions. She's been a big breakout star of the Rio Olympics.

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

On Sunday, Fu gave a particularly candid interview and mentioned that she got her period the night before the race.

Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

The interview came after her team placed fourth in the 4x100 medley relay.

"I feel like I didn't swim very well today and I want to apologize to my teammates for that," Yuanhui said to the China Central Television reporter. The reporter then commented that Yuanhui seemed to have some stomach pain.

"Actually my period started last night," Fu said. "So I'm feeling pretty weak and really tired."

Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Getty Images

She continued, "But this isn't an excuse. At the end of the day, I just didn't swim very well."

You can watch the full interview with English subtitles here.

Many women in China only talk about their periods in private. Even then, it's more commonly referred to as "the great aunt" (in Mandarin, "Dà Yímā") or simply "that."

According to a 2015 survey, only 2% of Chinese women living in China use tampons. And many use little purses to keep them hidden.

That's why Fu's frank remarks were such a revelation. And Chinese fans were quick to applaud Fu for talking about her period so publicly.

"She is the first athlete to admit getting her period on China Central TV News," read a comment that received over 38,000 likes on Weibo.

"It’s just spectacular. For a word women are unwilling to mention in public, Fu said it in a live interview with national media. It’s so typical her, just great," read another comment.

Some commenters noted how important it was to dispel the myth that swimming on your period is somehow unsafe or unhygienic.

“Some science here: women on period can use not only pads but also tampons. For athletes, tampons are used to be put inside bodies to prevent water and infection, while menstruation will be kept inside,” read one comment.

Just to clarify: It's totally safe to swim while on your period.

It's not gross or unhygienic — especially if you're wearing a tampon or menstrual cup. And there is no evidence to suggest that it's dangerous.

You keep doing you, Yuanhui.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.