Adlington to quit Twitter for Olympics over online abuse
Swimmer says online internet attacks over her looks are an unwanted distraction
SWIMMER Rebecca Adlington has opened up about the drawbacks of being a high-profile female athlete and revealed that she will leave Twitter during the Olympic Games so that the personal insults aimed at her do not distract from her preparation.
The swimmer said she no longer read comments about her on the internet as most of them concentrated on her looks. "Even if there are 10 nice comments, you get one idiot. I've now given up. It upsets me or gets me angry," she said.
As The Guardian put it: "It is easy to imagine that Rebecca Adlington has endless reserves of self-belief but the double Olympic champion can be a vulnerable and thin-skinned soul."
Adlington made the confession days after it emerged that another of Team GB's high-profile female competitors, Jessica Ennis, was once described as "fat" by a UK Athletics official.
"Most things that I read about myself are not swimming related," said Adlington. "They are to do with how I look, which has nothing to do with my performance in the pool. I've never read something that has really criticised me in the pool over the past year. It's just nasty comments about things I can't control. I can't help the way I look or who I am."
Talking about Twitter, she said her favourite feature was the block button, which she uses to stop so-called trolls from sending her abusive tweets. Adlington added that she would avoid the social networking site during the Games.
"The messages of support are amazing but you do have the chance of someone saying something that is going to be annoying. You don't want that added stress. You don't want to be thinking about that. I think I will just Tweet once it is over."
The Daily Telegraph notes: "Adlington complained to the BBC in 2009 over a joke made by the comedian Frankie Boyle that mocked her looks and since then online stories about her have attracted offensive posts by internet trolls."