Outcry after Chinese Olympic shot put gold medallist is asked about her ‘manly appearance’ and when she’ll get married and have kids by Beijing state media
- Female CCTV reporter spoke with Gong Lijiao after she won gold in Tokyo
- She asked the athlete if she had any plans for a ‘woman’s life’
- She also pestered the 32-year-old about whether she had a boyfriend
- Gong appeared to take it in her stride and was not rattled by the impertinence
A Chinese state media interview with an Olympic gold medallist about her ‘manly appearance’ and when she’ll get married and have children has caused outcry.
A female CCTV reporter subjected Gong Lijiao, 32, to the deeply personal interrogation after she won gold in the women’s shot put in Tokyo on Sunday.
She commented on her ‘bashful smile’ while asking if she had a boyfriend and whether she would take him on in an arm wrestle.
Despite being taken aback by some of the questions, Gong appeared to take it in her stride and was able to laugh off most of the woman’s impertinence.
But she later waded into some of the social media furore and suggested that such personal questions would not have been put to a male athlete.
A female CCTV reporter spoke with Gong Lijiao after she won gold in the women’s shot put in Tokyo on Sunday
Gold medalist Gong Lijiao of China celebrates after winning the Women’s Shot Put Final on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Gong proudly holding her gold medal inside the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo
The segment started with a piece to camera by the reporter who referred to Gong as a ‘manly woman,’ before it cut to the athlete answering her first question.
‘I may look like a manly woman on the outside, but inside I’m still more of a girl,’ she replied.
The reporter asked: ‘Do you have any plans for a woman’s life?’
Gong seemed slightly surprised, replying: ‘Woman’s life?’
The reporter described Gong as having ‘a bashful smile.’
The shot putter said: ‘Um… maybe I’ll look at my plans. If I don’t train then perhaps I will lose weight, get married and have children. Yes, it’s the path one must take in life.’
The reporter followed up by asking about whether or not Gong had a boyfriend and if she would like to give any potential suitors an arm wrestle.
Gong laughed as the interview concluded, telling her: ‘I don’t arm-wrestle. I’m very gentle.’
The line of questioning sparked fury in China with many taking to social media to criticise the state TV reporter.
‘Is marriage the only thing that can be talked about women?’ A trending hashtag said.
China’s Gong Lijiao competes in the women’s shot put final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
One commenter said: ‘Won an Olympic gold medal, still can’t shut up this group of nosy women.’
One post on Gong’s Weibo page, the equivalent of Facebook, said: ‘It’s not that she can’t get married, it’s that no man is her match… when we talk about women, it’s not just about marriage or looks, but also dreams and achievements.’
Gong herself responded to the post, saying: ‘This totally expresses what I feel! Thank you!’