People are bodyshaming these Olympic athletes and it's seriously not okay

By Mieke Vlok
13 August 2016

Again – not okay.

To participate in the Olympic Games is without a doubt one of the greatest things any athlete can achieve. But what if you reached the Olympics but then had your dreams crushed by internet ‘bodyshamers’ making fun of your appearance? This is what happened to Robel Habte, a 24-year-old swimmer from Ethiopia, whose physique was heavily criticised online. The swimmer hit back at cyber bullies and said that he had put on weight after being injured in a car accident and sitting out for two months. He has apparently already lost some of the weight and currently weighs 82 kg. Read more: It’s a tie! Chad and Michael Phelps BOTH earn silver in 100 m butterfly

Some of the things people have said or written are not nice,” said Robel, who cyber bullies have even called a ‘whale’, to the Daily Mail. “I am a nice person; I would not say these things about others.”

Robel admits that he still needs to shed a few kilos and is working on it. But his waistline hasn’t dampened his excitement at being at the games. "I am so happy because it is my first competition in the Olympics," the Ethiopia-based university student told Reuters. Read more: This plus-size model had the perfect response to body shamers everywhere Scathing online critics asked if Robel was taking part in the “beer-belly”-Games. He even came under fire in his native Ethiopia because his father is apparently a big shot in the country’s swimming federation and locals reckoned that his connections were the only reason he made it to Rio. But Robel is in fact part of a group of athlete’s from under-represented countries who were invited to the games and did not have to qualify in order to compete.

Read more: This woman had the perfect response to bullies who shamed her engagement photos

Alexa Moreno (22), a gymnast from Mexico was also berated online for being “too fat”. Pictures of pigs were tweeted to her with people saying that she is the size of “two gymnasts.”

Sources: Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Twitter, Reuters

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