Canada’s Kim Boutin has been subjected to online threats following her bronze-medal win in the 500-metre short-track speedskating event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Boutin won with a time of 43.881 seconds, which put her in fourth. But the athlete from Sherbrooke, Que., was bumped up to third after South Korea’s Minjeong Choi was disqualified for interfering with the Canadian in Tuesday’s event.
Arianna Fontana of Italy won gold in 42.569 seconds while Yara van Kerkhof was second in 43.256.
Following her win, Boutin’s social media accounts were bombarded by apparent angry South Korean fans, some threatening the speedskater with her life.
According to Radio-Canada, most of the threats were posted on Boutin’s Instagram page, which has been turned to a private account.
“If I find you, you will die,” reads one comment, according to Radio-Canada. “Retire and I hope you have a hard life.”
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Aol.com reported that some of the comments featured knife emojis while others called the speedskater a “f—ing b—ch.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) issued a statement Tuesday night (Wednesday morning Korea time) saying both the RCMP and Speed Skating Canada are looking into the threats.
“The health, safety and security of all our team members is our top priority and as such we are working closely with Speed Skating Canada, our security personnel and the RCMP,” the COC said in a statement. “We will not make further comment on this issue, so that Kim can focus on her upcoming events.”
Global News reached out to Speed Skating Canada but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
During a Wednesday morning press conference, Mark Adams, International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson, said everyone should “respect the athletes” and the “Olympic spirit.”
“From the IOC’s point of view, none of us unfortunately or fortunately can control social media and the public has their right to say things. But clearly, we would ask everyone to respect the athletes and their performances and to support the great work they’ve done and to support the Olympic spirit,” Adams said. “These Olympics are about bringing different countries together to compete in the spirit of friendship… we occasionally, unfortunately, do have these issues and it’s something that we don’t approve of.
“Obviously, it’s something unfortunately, we can’t control, and wouldn’t want to control,” the spokesperson said.
Boutin’s Twitter account was also set to private following the uproar of the race.
An online petition was also registered on the South Korean government website calling for the disqualification to be “fixed.”