US-Born Figure Skater Who Renounced Citizenship and Defected to China Hits Rock Bottom, Falls Again During Team Event


The American-born figure skater infamous for renouncing her citizenship to compete for China suffered another humiliating setback on Monday.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Zhu Yi took the ice Monday for the women’s free skate, the final event in the Olympic team competition. After landing her first two jumps, she crashed to the ice attempting a triple-flip on her third jump.

To make matters worse, she fell again on her next jump. At the conclusion of the event, Zhu left the ice in tears.

According to Fox News, Zhu was born in California to a Chinese immigrant family. However, the 19-year-old figure skater renounced her United States citizenship in 2018 in order to compete for China.

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Monday’s disappointment only added salt to the wound for Zhu. Just one day earlier, she finished dead last in the team competition short program event.

Zhu fell early in her routine during the short program event, but she tried to regain her composure. A second stumble later in the routine doomed her to the worst score among all participants.

According to Reuters, Russian Olympic Committee skater Kamila Valieva earned the highest score for the short program with a 90.18. Zhu finished with a 47.03, more than 40 points behind the leader.

“I’m upset and a little embarrassed,” Zhu said Sunday, according to Reuters. “I guess I felt a lot of pressure because I know everybody in China was pretty surprised with the selection for ladies’ singles, and I just really wanted to show them what I was able to do, but unfortunately I didn’t.”

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Before Zhu took the ice on Sunday, China was sitting in third place in the team event, according to Fox News. Her poor performance knocked China off the podium, and they were not able to recover.

China ended up finishing in fifth place in the team event after Monday’s disappointment from Zhu. The Russian Olympic Committee took home the gold, while the United States secured silver and Japan received bronze.

Zhu’s falls on Sunday drew heavy criticism as they made their way around the Chinese social media platform Weibo. The hashtag #ZhuYiFellOver garnered more than 230 million views on the platform on Sunday, but it was eventually removed, Fox News reported.

A second hashtag, #ZhuYiMessedUp, brought in another 80 million views and remained on Weibo as of Sunday.

Competing in the Olympics is incredibly difficult, and it is saddening that Zhu has received such ardent criticism. At the same time, she opened herself up to that criticism by deciding to turn her back on the U.S.

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If she had remained loyal to the country who gave her the opportunity to experience freedom, it is possible that American fans would have rallied behind her and rooted for her success.

Instead, she decided to represent communist China. As a perceived outsider, her unsatisfactory performance on the world stage has not won her many supporters.

While the team event has concluded, Zhu’s 2022 Olympics have not yet come to an end. According to Reuters, she will compete in the individual figure skating event on Feb. 15.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.