UPDATE: Wrote this just in time to be quoted directly on Carol Duncan’s story on ABC Newcastle. Thanks Carol, and for the attribution and the link to the blog. You rock!! YAY!!
As I sit here, gnawing on my fourth deep fried chicken wing for the day and contemplating a pack of Chocolate Wheatens for dessert, I feel I should weigh in (sorry!) on the brouhaha that emerged along with the above photo of you at training in London overnight.
Now, given that I weigh about a billion kilos and would struggle to rise from the bottom to the top of the pool, let alone plough my way along it several times, I feel I should tell you that, personally, I would kill for your thighs. The media, including a bunch of pundits who’ve probably never pulled on a Speedo, would have us believe that you’re overweight and in no shape to be swimming at the Olympics.
Oh, they’ll say it nicely … ‘To the untrained eye she doesn’t look like a typical elite athlete’ said Tory Maguire on The Punch today. All while trying to tell us the kerfuffle isn’t about body image but about whether an elite athlete is ready to represent their country while subsidised by the Australian taxpayer’s hard-earned.
Codswallop. Of course it’s about body image. It’s why female swimmers get buckets of sponsorship and female shotputters don’t.
Bollocks to that.
Leisel, you’re in London because you swam fast enough to qualify. Your coach has said you need to shave a couple of seconds off your times to be competitive and I’m sure you’re doing what you have to do to get that work done in the week or so left before you swim in anger.
I don’t give a rat’s arse what you look like doing it.
Because I know one thing — the media and punditry will suddenly not give a damn about the size of your thighs or the thickness of your waist if you end up on the podium, or break a record.
And right there is the pure hypocrisy of this debate.
Pay no attention to it, Leisel. Give it your best shot.