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This edition of the Olympic Games saw its fair share of off- and on-track issues. From swimmers purportedly getting robbed at gun point, to pools turning rainforest green, to a number of athletes suffering horrendous injuries… it’s definitely been an interesting ride. But one particular name that stood out for some this weekend was Lynsey Sharp.
After South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya stormed away from the field to win her 800m event with a personal best, 6th place finisher Sharp had a few words to say about the race and her competitors.
#LynseySharp began trending Sunday after Caster Semenya’s 800m victory, and Lynsey Sharp’s comments made thereafter
“I have tried to avoid the issue all year. You can see how emotional it all was. We know how each other feels. It is out of our control and how much we rely on people at the top sorting it out. The public can see how difficult it is with the change of rule but all we can do is give it our best,” Sharp told reporters after the race.
The “issue” mentioned by Sharp cites the overturned ruling that previously required athletes with high testosterone levels, like Semenya, to take suppressants. The court of arbitration for sport overturned this in 2015, which allowed Semenya to run in Rio without suppressants.
Sharp, since the post-race inverview, tweeted that she has “a tremendous amount of respect for Caster”.
“When asked on live TV, I felt I gave an honest and diplomatic response. I refused to answer questions from any other media on the topic. As you can imagine, it’s frustrating to finish a race to be asked about your competitors’ performance,” she adds.
— Lynsey Sharp (@LynseySharp) August 21, 2016
But while Sharp has reportedly studied high female testosterone levels in sport at tertiary edutcation, her comments have come under stark criticism on social media.
South African Twitter erupted this weekend with the hashtag #LynseySharp, leaving Sharp blocking many Twitter users.
— FrontierPsychiatrist (@F_Psychiatrist) August 21, 2016
After Sharp’s comments, many criticised her lack of respect for her competitors.
Good sportsmanship doesn’t mean you’re okay with losing. It just means you respect the fact that someone was better on the day. #LynseySharp
— Courtnall Skosan (@Skosan14) August 21, 2016
— Scott (@scottacr) August 21, 2016
Other British tweeters also defended Caster Semenya, suggesting that Sharp has “sour grapes”.
— Mr Lee Jasper (@LeeJasper) August 21, 2016
Twitter also tried to understand Sharp’s reasoning behind the comments, considering her overall placement in the race.
— PK-Mo (@PKellz88) August 21, 2016
You had five women ahead of you, you were never going to win that race anyway. Take a seat. pic.twitter.com/3UjjlDHR1B
— Barry Roux (@AdvBarryRoux) August 21, 2016
Sharp however, did have supporters on Twitter, with some suggesting that Semenya does indeed have an unfair advantage.
— nachoman (@nachoman1872) August 21, 2016
— Doodly Diddly (@wowzababowza) August 21, 2016
“Lynsey Sharp” was also one of the most popular search terms in South Africa today, along with “Caster Semenya”.
But while Twitter has had its say, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will challenge the ruling with the court for arbitration, which could mean the reinstatement of suppressants.
Do you have anything to add? Be sure to let us know your views in the comments section below, or tweet us at @Memeburn.