China’s most lovable Olympic swimmer turned on the charm during a Hong Kong press meet.
Fu Yuanhui is the bronze medallist Olympian who won millions of adoring fans for her quirky personality and honest reactions. After meeting with the Chinese president last week, Fu and the delegation of Chinese athletes paid a visit to Hong Kong for a press meet that took place at the InterContinental Grand Stanford hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday.
During the conference, Fu charmed her audience by delivering a message that she deemed more important than going to Disneyland. Fu mentioned that Disneyland has been on her bucket list, but her busy training schedule has left her with no recreational time.
According to South China Morning Post, Fu said:
“Since we are here as a delegation, we have more important, more… how do I say it? Bigger goals, that is. We hope to come to Hong Kong to interact with the people here, so I shouldn’t just think about having fun.”
Fu is one of the three athletes who received an invitation from the Hong Kong government to attend the three-day trip. Though this is her first time in Hong Kong, she says she must resist the temptation to do fun activities.
“This has always been on my mind, perhaps because I am silly — [I think Hong Kong] has all the delicious food and fun stuff. I guess I will come again by myself next time to have fun.”
During her speech, Fu addressed the political and social tensions between mainland China and Hong Kong. She said:
“[Hong Kong and China] are bonded by flesh and blood, and there is no reason to divide between them. Thank you everyone.”
According to Global Times, the Olympic tour sold out due to the athletes’ popularity in Hong Kong. Tickets were being resold at fifty times the face value and fans lined up overnight to get seats.
Some have speculated that the tour was an opportunity to build up patriotic spirit in Hong Kong and strengthen ties with mainland China. Others were worried that Hong Kong localists and pro-independence protesters would disrupt the press meet.
When a reporter raised questions about how the athletes would react to a anti-mainland protest in Hong Kong, a mainland official who hosted the press conference responded by saying that sports and politics are not related. The official, Wang Wen, continued the spirit of diplomacy when it came to sports.