Winter Olympian's 'inappropriate' outfit sparks international scandal

Huang Yu-ting, pictured here at the Winter Olympics.
Huang Yu-ting has sparked an international scandal at the Winter Olympics. Image: Instagram/Getty

The Premier of Taiwan has called for an investigation into the circumstance surrounding a Taiwanese speedskater wearing what appeared to be a Chinese uniform at the Winter Olympics.

Huang Yu-ting, one of four Taiwanese athletes at the Winter Games in Beijing, posted a video on her social media page on January 23 showing her training.

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However she appeared to be wearing a Chinese team suit in the video, copping a raft of backlash from Taiwanese fans on social media.

Huang has since apologised and removed the video, saying she received "too many unnecessary comments as well as messages sent to her privately.”

“Sport is sport. There is no nationality in the world of sports," she wrote.

"Every athlete is a friend when we are not competing against each other.

Huang Yu-ting, pictured here wearing a Chinese team suit while training at the Winter Olympics.
Huang Yu-ting was wearing a Chinese team suit while training at the Winter Olympics. Image: Instagram

“You do not have to cheer for me, but remember to cheer for athletes you support. Winter sports are not popular in Taiwan, but the nation has athletes competing in the Winter Olympics.

"Do not forget to cheer for them. I believe they will appreciate your support.”

One internet user replied: “Sport is sport? Do not forget that your accomplishments are only possible through the use of resources funded by Taiwanese taxpayers."

Another commented: “You want to be Chinese? Fine, then renounce your Taiwanese nationality and do not come back."

Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang has now asked the Ministry of Education and the Sports Administration to investigate so Huang would “receive an adequate punishment" for her "extremely inappropriate" actions.

“Members of the national team represent the country in competitions, and there should not be any controversial words or deeds that damage the nation’s honour,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's office said in a statement.

Huang Yu-ting was given the outfit by a friend

Taiwan’s Sports Administration said Huang would face no penalty but should be “more aware of the sensitivity of cross-Taiwan Strait politics."

Steven Chen, the Taiwanese team leader at the Olympics, said the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee would review in April whether Huang was wearing the appropriate clothing.

Huang was reportedly wearing the outfit after it was gifted to her by a friend.

“She told us that she and her friend met during training in Germany in 2016 and they were happy to be able to reunite in Beijing. She did not think much of it when she put on the clothes her friend had given her,” Sports Administration Deputy Director-General Lin Che-hung said.

“We have accepted Huang’s apology and she remains qualified to represent Taiwan.”

Huang Yu-ting, pictured here in the women's speed skating 1000m event at the Winter Olympics.
Huang Yu-ting competes in the women's speed skating 1000m event at the Winter Olympics. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

China's ruling Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of its territory even though the island has long operated with its own government.

Symbols of each side are particularly sensitive at a time when China is trying to intimidate the democracy by flying fighter jets and bombers nearby.

The Olympics are just one facet of a wide-ranging campaign by Beijing to isolate Taiwan.

The International Olympic Committee requires Taiwanese athletes to compete under the name “Chinese Taipei,” which obscures the island’s long-standing self-ruled status.

with Associated Press

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