Canadian-Chinese swimmer Maggie MacNeil wins gold, people in China criticise her biological parents' gender bias

Born in Jiangxi province, MacNeil was adopted by a Canadian couple when she was just one.

Zhangxin Zheng | July 28, 2021, 03:15 AM

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Canadian swimmer Maggie MacNeil has won two medals at Tokyo Olympics thus far, including the first gold for Canada.

She beat China's swimming golden girl Zhang Yufei at the Women's 100m butterfly event by 0.05 second on July 26, 2021.

MacNeil also went viral for her reaction when she mouthed the words, "Oh my god", after squinting her eyes to see the results and realising she had won the race.

Later in an interview with the media, MacNeil described the experience as "crazy" and "incredible", AP reported.

She was also part of the team that won silver for the 4x100m freestyle relay on July 25.

An adoptee from China

The Canadian, however, has created quite a buzz in China due to her background.

Born in Jiangxi province, the 21-year-old and her younger sister were abandoned at a local orphanage by their biological parents at a tender age.

When she was one, MacNeil and her sister were adopted by their current parents.

Both children were then raised by the Macneil couple in London, Ontario, Canada.

MacNeil started swimming in 2008 and she has been dreaming about swimming at the Olympics since then, she shared on Instagram.

Several Chinese media outlets covered MacNeil's win, highlighting the fact that she's a Chinese and was born in Jiangxi.

via Weibo.

This post even urged online users to help locate her kin in China:

via Weibo.

Fellow competitor Zhang also said she felt like MacNeil is a family member when asked about the latter's win, South China Morning Post reported.


However, the manner in which the Chinese media tried to reconcile MacNeil with her Chinese origins did not sit well with many Chinese online users.

A number of commenters criticised the now scrapped one-child policy and preference for male offspring, after learning about MacNeil's backstory even though they are happy for her success.

Some also pointed out how life would have been different for MacNeil if she was not adopted by her Canadian parents.

via Weibo.

via Weibo.

via Weibo.

Top image via MacNeil's Instagram