Winter Olympics: Kim Boutin target of online abuse after bronze medal

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Canadian short track speed skater Kim Boutin has received online threats and abuse after winning a bronze medal in Tuesday’s 500m final.

Boutin took third place after South Korean athlete Choi Min-jeong was disqualified for interfering.

But the 23-year-old was forced to block her social media accounts on Wednesday after abuse from angry Korean fans.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a statement asking the public to “respect the athletes”.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported “angry” fans rushed to Boutin’s Instagram and Twitter accounts to attack her, with messages including death threats in Korean and English.

The Korean Herald said some became “especially angry after the overjoyed Boutin hugging her team-mates was broadcast live after she was informed that she had just won bronze”.

The newspaper added that at least 10,000 comments, many of them abusive, were posted on Boutin’s Instagram account.

Italy’s Arianna Fontana won a dramatic final, in which Britain’s Elise Christie fell after being clipped by Yara van Kerkhof with the Dutchwoman taking silver.

Christie, who regained her feet to finish fourth in Tuesday’s final, was the target of similar online treatment at Sochi 2014 after she collided with South Korean skater Park Seung-hi.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said: “None of us can control social media and the public has the right to say what they want but we would ask anyone to respect the athletes and support their work.”

Canada’s Olympic Committee said in a statement team members’ safety was a top priority, adding: “We are working closely with Speed Skating Canada, our security personnel and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

Short-track speed skating is the host nation’s favourite winter sport, with South Korea having won 43 their 55 Winter Olympic medals in it.

 

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