By now, you’ve probably heard of Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui whose quirky and addicting personality has captivated Olympic fans all over the world.
To get an idea of just how much people love this incredible 20-year-old, Fu’s following on Weibo (China’s Twitter equivalent) has gone from 100,000 to over 5 million in less than a week. Most recently, she did a one hour live stream that drew a whopping 10 million viewers.
Fu started her live stream at 8 p.m. Beijing time and drew 8 million within the first 30 minutes. She also received virtual gifts worth 100,000 yuan (roughly $15,000) and had to beg her fans to stop or else it would make her feel guilty, according to Sina (via Shanghaiist).
Fu made headlines last week for her adorable reaction after finding out she had won a bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke.
“Although I wasn’t the champion, I surpassed myself,” she told Chinese state television. “I think that’s really good.”
Fu’s happy go lucky personality is a sign that China is changing. For decades, they’ve been known as a country so obsessed with winning Olympic gold medals that they’d be cruel to those who didn’t win first place — second place was considered shameful. According to Global Times, China’s state-run newspaper (via NBC):
“The Chinese society has indeed changed. We still have the collective desire to remain first-class in the world, but we are respecting individual rights.
“Although Fu Yuanhui is an exception, it marks changes in the generation of younger athletes. The echoing applause by the Chinese public marks a shift in the societal awareness.”
Whatever the future holds for Fu, we will be forever rooting for her.