Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, defects with blistering attack
Taekwondo champion Kimia Alizadeh, 21 — who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics — attacked the “hypocrisy, lies [and] injustice” of her homeland Saturday as she revealed she’d fled to Europe.
“I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran whom they’ve been playing for years,” she wrote in an Instagram post accusing Iranian officials of sexism and other mistreatment.
“I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated,” she said, adding that she was angry at being forced to wear her country’s mandatory hijab headscarf while competing.
“None of us matter for them, we are just tools,” she raged.
The athlete said that while Iran’s government took advantage of her medals politically, officials would also humiliate her, making remarks such as, “It is not virtuous for a woman to stretch her legs!”
Alizadeh reportedly fled to the Netherlands, though said she has yet to be asked by another country to continue to compete in her sport.
“But I accept the pain and hardship of homesickness because I didn’t want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice,” Alizadeh wrote.
Still, she assured the “dear Iranian people” that she would remain “a child of Iran,” wherever she is.
News of her disappearance shocked Iran. (For the rest of the story, click here.)