Yuanhui at the FINA World Championships [Photo: Getty]
Periods can be pretty debilitating on your average day, let alone if you’re competing in the Olympics.
So when Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui came on her period the day before she was competing in the final of the women’s 4 × 100m medley relay, she didn’t shy from telling the world what was holding her back.
After coming fourth in the competition, Yuanhui sat by the pool and clutched her abdomen. When a reporter came up to her she was frank about why this was:
“I feel I didn’t swim well today. I let my teammates down,” she said.
“Because my period came yesterday, I’m feeling a bit weak, but this is not an excuse.”
Weirdly enough, this small comment is pretty groundbreaking, because despite the impact of menstruation on women’s bodies its rarely spoken about in sports.
So soon a hashtag (’Fu Yuanhui period’) emerged on Chinese social network Weibo along with a fierce discussion about periods.
While many celebrated the fact that Yuanhui spoke about menstruation, others asked why there wasn’t blood in the pool (tampons aren’t at all popular in China due to beliefs about virginity).
Yuanhui and her bronze medal for the Women’s 100m Backstroke Final at Rio [Photo: Getty]
While comments like Yuanhui’s are rare, she isn’t the only athlete to have brought menstruation up - last year British tennis player Heather Watson also did, saying that her poor performance was related to a badly-timed period.
How do you think we can break the taboo of periods and sport? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.