Iran’s only female Olympic medalist reportedly defects

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, reportedly defects

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist reportedly announced she has defected and has left her country for Europe.

Kimia Alizadeh, 21, who won a bronze medal in taekwondo during the 2016 Summer Olympics, made the announcement in an Instagram post, CNN reported.

“Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” Alizadeh wrote on Instagram. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”

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Alizadeh, nicknamed “The Tsunami,” took bronze in the 57kg division at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but she criticized the Iranian government in her announcement to leave the country.

“They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me,” Alizadeh wrote. “I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools.”

Morgan Ortagus, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, said, “Iran will continue to lose more strong women unless it learns to empower and support them."

Kimia Alizadeh of Iran took bronze in the taekwondo competition during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Kimia Alizadeh of Iran took bronze in the taekwondo competition during the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)