Dozens of social-media accounts were suspended after an Olympic athlete was bullied over posting a post-defeat selfie online

Chinese air rifle Olympic competitor Wang Luyao with air rifle gun
Wang Luyao of the Chinese shooting team attended a training session at Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo on July 23. Ju Huanzong/Xinhua via Getty Images
  • Wang Luyao was an early favorite to win the women’s air-rifle competition at the Tokyo Games.
  • She failed to make the finals and was roundly criticized online for her failure.
  • Censors on the social-media platform Weibo suspended almost three dozen accounts for attacking her.
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Chinese fans lashed out at one of the country’s star Olympic competitors after she failed to make it to the finals, prompting censors to suspend almost three dozen social-media accounts over the abuse.

Wang Luyao was an early favorite to win the Tokyo 2020 women’s air-rifle competition, but she had a difficult semifinal round and failed to qualify for the sport’s final.

Following the disappointing match, Wang posted a selfie of herself posing in black pajamas.

“Sorry everyone, I admit I chickened out. See you in three years,” she captioned the image.

Weibo users were apparently insulted that she seemed to make light of her failure.

“Why not reflect on your failure? What purpose do you have for releasing an arrogant selfie?” one Weibo user wrote, the South China Morning Post reported.

“You did not spend time thinking about why you failed, but immediately posted a selfie on Weibo. It seems you desire to be famous,” another said, the outlet reported.

The lashing was so severe that Wang deleted the post.

In response to the criticism, Weibo banned 16 users for a period of 180 days and another 17 users for 90 days, Global Times reported.

The opinion board of China Daily also released an editorial in support of Wang and shamed Weibo users who bullied her.

“It is painful for any player to lose after years of hard work,” the unsigned editorial said. “There is nothing wrong if a losing athlete lets off steam through Weibo. We should look at Wang’s post with an empathetic ‘we feel your sadness’ attitude rather than engaging in criticism and posting sarcastic comments.”