Tokyo Olympics 2018: Female athletes are the target of abuse online

Written by Staff Writer

Female athletes are the target of abuse online at a rate of 87% at the Tokyo Olympics, according to findings published by World Athletics ahead of the Olympics.

On the eve of the fifth day of the World Championships in London, the World Association of Athletics Federations (WAAF) analyzed reported cyber incidents involving member federations, and determined that harassment and abuse are the top-ranked reasons for inappropriate online behavior at major championships.


This is greater than the combined rates for more than 160 sports globally, according to the WAAF’s findings.

The significant finding doesn’t go unnoticed.

Konnichiwa! Get ready for Tokyo 2020

“Yikes! (Abuse) is the number one reason athletes experience,” Shaheen Shariff, the head of Twitter’s India content team, told CNN.

“It’s been a global problem for a long time. It’s not just on Twitter — on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp — every platform.

“There’s a lot of evidence out there about harassment — especially by people who don’t just want to do it online, they want to be face-to-face with someone, too.

“So we’re addressing the problem of abuse online, too.”

Maria Elena López Hall, the women’s head coach of the Colombian athletics federation, was among those who shared their thoughts on the issue on social media.

Twitter is working to reduce online harassment. CNN

She wrote: “Online harassment does not stop with blocking and reporting.

“We need to accept we are all part of the problem. It’s not a matter of helping athletes find solutions, but continuing to debate it at the dinner table, the pub, wherever.”

According to the WAAF’s study, athletes ranked the “#Japaneseteam” as the most problematic topic being discussed on social media, followed by “#WorldFinals” and “#Worldchampionships.”

It’s just one of the studies related to the upcoming World Championships released by the WAAF.

Some 37% of athletes ranked the “recent sexual assault accusation” of Swedish runner Emma Green Tregaro as one of the most significant in the run-up to the championships.

Emma Green Tregaro accuses Swedish football federation of sexism. EPA/PETER DENETTE

It also emerged that 84% of women athletes said they had been bullied in the lead-up to the championships, while 34% said they had experienced sexual harassment.

Featuring athletes representing 159 countries and territories, the World Championships in London is expected to draw more than 350,000 spectators, and 8.4 million TV viewers worldwide.

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