Tokyo Olympics: Hong Kong newspaper criticized for describing silver medalist as ‘mixed-race mermaid’
Hong Kong newspaper is criticized for describing swimmer who came after Ariarne Titmus as a ‘mixed-race mermaid’
A Hong Kong newspaper has sparked outrage after the silver medalist who gave Australian gold girl Ariarne Titmus a run for her money at the Tokyo Olympics was labeled a ‘mixed-race mermaid’.
Hong Kong swimmer Siobhan Haughey pushed the Australian all the way into the 200m freestyle final, leading much of the race before Titmus came home to claim her second gold medal in 48 hours.
Born to an Irish father and a Hong Kong mother, Haughey finished second to take her country’s first-ever Olympic medal in swimming.
A Chinese state publication back home in Hong Kong raised eyebrows at the choice of words to describe the double Olympian’s groundbreaking feat.
Siobhan Haughey made history by winning Hong Kong’s first-ever Olympic medal in swimming
“Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, who entered the 200m freestyle final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, has become the mixed-race mermaid to lead the next generation of elite swimmers in Hong Kong,” the South China article reads. Morning Mail.
The profile piece has since been edited to describe her as an Irish-Hong Kong who has “reaffirmed her status as a torchbearer to guide the next generation of swimmers in Hong Kong.”
But the readers who saw the original wording were alarmed.
“Nothing to see here, just the English-language papers of the record in ‘Asia’s World City’ calling someone a ‘mixed race mermaid,’ someone tweeted.
Another added: You should tell your bosses to pay her respects to Hong Kong with a less insensitive nickname than “mixed-race mermaid.”
The South China Morning Post was inundated with online comments after describing the silver medalist as a ‘mixed-race mermaid’
“What the hell is a mixed race mermaid?” asked one.
Another added: “Pretty sure Siobhan would have preferred ‘the Hong Kong athlete’.
Journalists around the world were also shocked.
A Hong Kong swimmer who won an Olympic medal was described by a ‘mixed-race mermaid’. Sad to see this kind of nonsense in 2021,” wrote Asia-based journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall.
Another added: ‘Really, that’s how this historic moment is covered? Is that her favorite nickname?
The Queen of Hong Kong’s Pool (pictured) was born to an Irish father and a Hong Kong mother
Haughey, a former Junior World Champion and Olympic Youth Medalist, is the grandniece of the late former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey and is competing in her second Olympic Games.
She can go home with another medal after qualifying as second fastest in Wednesday night’s heats for the 100m freestyle heats behind Australia’s Emma McKeon, who set a new Olympic record.
The semifinals will be played on Thursday morning.
Siobhan Haughey (right) made history when she gave Australian Ariarne Titmus (center) a run for her money before finishing second to claim silver