Chinese Olympic medallists continue tour of Hong Kong with event for young sports lovers

Table tennis gold medallists Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin among stars performing for students

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 1:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 10:59pm

China’s Olympic swimmer and instant internet sweetheart Fu Yuanhui said her coach urged her to avoid vanity and self-importance, after receiving enormous admiration from fans on the mainland and in Hong Kong.

Fu’s confession came as a group of 45 Chinese Olympians wrapped up their three-day visit in Hong Kong yesterday and headed to Macau.

Fu, who won a bronze medal in the Olympics, joined the group – including 42 gold medallists – as an exception because of her popularity in the city.

“My coach and leaders all reminded me not to be vain, because many people will become vain or self-important after they get famous,” said the 20-year-old in an interview with Now TV.

“Once you’ve become vain ... your life as an athlete will definitely turn hopeless.”

Fu said she would not be carried away by fame as she disliked her popularity. “I don’t want to be an internet celebrity at all because [the fame] has affected my training and life already,” she said. “My greatest wish is to become a more outstanding athlete.”

Fu, who was adored by netizens for her candid and awkward style during interviews at the Olympics, rejected the idea that she was put into the Olympian group as a political tool to draw Hong Kong closer to mainland China. She reiterated that she felt people in both places were a family and were connected by blood.

“Why must we separate ourselves from one another?” she said. “I don’t understand politics and I haven’t cared about negative things.”

On their last day in the city, the medallists split into three groups to interact with young people in a secondary school in Pok Fu Lam, the Sports Institute in Sha Tin and a stadium in Ma On Shan.

When they arrived at the Macau ferry pier in Sheung Wan in the afternoon, around 50 fans waiting for them there screamed their favourite athletes’ names to get their attention.

Swimming gold medallist Sun Yang stopped by the crowd and took a selfie with one of the fans.

The fan, Rong Chen, said she kept shouting Sun’s name and could not believe that he really took a photo with her. The 20-year-old from Guangzhou said if she had not got a selfie with Sun, she would have followed the group to Macau for the photo.