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Cawthorn Dragged For Absurdly Accusing U.S.-Born Olympians Of Switching Teams After Arriving In Beijing

Cawthorn Dragged For Absurdly Accusing U.S.-Born Olympians Of Switching Teams After Arriving In Beijing
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Cui Nan/China News Service via Getty Images
American-born Chinese skater Zhu Yi faced massive scrutiny after she stumbled twice and failed to land a jump during her free skate performance in the women's short program on Monday at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
But it was her status as an American-born athlete competing for China in the 2022 Olympics that seemed to draw the ire of some on the right, including Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.

The far-right Congressman, who perhaps is most infamous for his role in former President Donald Trump's rally that incited the January 6 Capitol riot, tweeted:

"If you went to the Olympics to represent America and decided to represent another nation once you arrived there, your citizenship should be revoked."


The piece of the story that Cawthorn missed was that while Yi was born in Los Angeles as Beverly Yi, she renounced her U.S. citizenship in 2018 to compete as Zhu Yi for China in 2022–as China does not allow dual citizenship.

Yi–who is not fluent in Chinese–was one of several foreign-born athletes competing for China at the 2022 Winter Games, including freestyle skier Eileen Gu, who was also born in California.

As if there isn't enough self-imposed pressure and anxiety facing many of the competitors at the Winter Games, social media was especially brutal on Yi after her Olympic debut performance resulted in Team China dropping from third to fifth place in the team competition.

Users took to China's social media platform, Weibo, and shared the hashtag “Zhu Yi Fell Over,” and it was viewed over 230 million times before it was seemingly censored.

Many Weibo users complained that an American-born skater took the place of a competitor who could have been a born native of the host country to compete in Beijing.

But when Cawthorn–who has claimed his preferred pronouns were "MA/GA"–added his own ignorant hot take, it did not go well.

Following the free skating event, Yi told reporters while wiping her tears:

“I’m upset and a little embarrassed. 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.”

She added:

"I am relieved because [there is] a lot of pressure and people are expecting a lot. But right now, I'm just going to move on and focus on my individual events."

Yi is focusing ahead as she prepares to compete in the singles competition, which starts on February 15.