Rejected: Olympic medalist declines Carrie Lam’s congratulatory call during live TV interview

The Olympic medalist, Sarah Lee Wai-sze, likely did not know that the call she rejected was from the city’s leader. Photos: Open TV (Left), TVB (Right)
The Olympic medalist, Sarah Lee Wai-sze, likely did not know that the call she rejected was from the city’s leader. Photos: Open TV (Left), TVB (Right)

Olympic cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze had back-to-back interviews lined up after winning Hong Kong’s sixth medal at the Tokyo Games—so much so that she rejected Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s congratulatory call while busy doing a live interview.

The 34-year-old Olympian was in the middle of a video call with broadcaster Hong Kong Open TV Sunday when TVB phoned Lee, hoping to connect her with the leader waiting on the other end.

In a video of the exact moment Lee declined the call, the cyclist is seen listening intently to the reporter’s question as her phone suddenly rings. She lets out an “aiya” exclamation before turning around to reject the call. Lee then tells the reporter that they can continue.

While it’s unlikely Lee knew that it was, in fact, Hong Kong’s top leader on the line, netizens found humor in the athlete’s unintentional snub.

The 7-second YouTube video has racked up over 75,000 views since it was posted on Sunday evening.

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TVB was able to reach Lee later. Lam congratulated Lee’s achievements in a video call, telling her that even though she won bronze, that she is first in her mind because she beat Germany’s star cyclist, Emma Hinze, in the race.

“Don’t comfort me,” Lee replied tersely.

Lee won bronze in the women’s sprint event on the closing day of the games, bringing Hong Kong’s already historical Olympics medal count to six.

She is the first Hong Kong athlete to bring home medals at two Olympic games. The cyclist won a bronze medal in the women’s keirin event during the London 2012 Games.

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