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[Trending] #SonYeonjae #Sotnikova #Instagram

The final countdown to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games has begun, and a retired rhythmic gymnast who reportedly liked a picture of a Russian figure skater went viral Monday morning.

According to local media reports, Son Yeon-jae, 23, hit the “like” button on the Instagram post of Adelina Sotnikova biting her gold medal from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Son Yeon-jae (Yonhap)
Son Yeon-jae (Yonhap)

Sotnikova was a surprise gold medalist, receiving the highest score despitesome apparently noticeable mistakes during her routine. Former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na had to settle for silver that night. The result here ranged from raising eyebrows to triggering public anger.

An online community user shared a series of screenshots, disclosing Son’s Instagram activities. Among the list of people who liked the controversial picture, Son’s official Instagram account was included. Her account is now closed amid the heated controversy.


As soon as the news was revealed, the name of the gymnast plastered local websites’ trending charts Monday.

“What’s the matter with her? (I believe) she would know what that medal means to Korean figure skating fans,” one comment read, receiving over 7,000 likes in the morning.

Some social media users, however, defended Son’s action, saying, “Everyone has the right to express their opinions or feelings.”

“What is this, a witch hunt? She might press the ‘like’ button by mistake, and even if she intentionally liked the post, we can’t blame her,” a Facebook user said. The tide seemed to change, as comments of a similar opinion soon garnered positive reactions from other users.

By Park Ju-young (