Kim Boutin, subjected to online abuse, breaks down in tears during medal ceremony

Canadian who won short-track bronze winner was in contentious Pyeongchang Olympics race

By Amy Cleveland, CBC Sports

The last 24 hours for Canadian short-track speed skater Kim Boutin have been full of emotional ups and downs, but ended with a touching ceremony at the Medals Plaza on Wednesday in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The 23-year-old's tumultuous saga began Tuesday when she captured her first Olympic medal in the women's 500-metre final. What should have been a moment of pride and celebration quickly turned sour, as Korean fans subjected the Sherbrooke, Que., native to online abuse via her social media channels.

They were incensed after South Korean skater Choi Min-jeong, who finished second, was disqualified for interference — bumping Boutin up from fourth to third. It's not an uncommon occurrence in a discipline that sees skaters racing in such proximity, but the onus is on the passer to avoid inappropriate contact, something the judges determined Choi failed to do.

"International Skating Union [ISU] firmly believes there is no place for harassment and abuse in sport , including through cyber and online channels," one of the organization's officials told CBC News.

VIDEO | Kim Boutin wins short track bronze

Boutin shut down her social media and the Canadian Olympic Committee is monitoring the situation.

Given the circumstances that followed her victory, Boutin was clearly emotional when she received her hardware — breaking down in tears during her special moment.

Likely overwhelmed by the whirlwind day, Boutin requested not to speak following the ceremony.

She'll have another chance at the podium when she competes on Saturday in the 1,500-metre race, as well as the 3,000 relay final and 1,000 qualification round next week.

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