Olympic swimmer in 'racy' bikini sparks row on Twitter
Australian swimming champion Stephanie Rice arrives in London after skimpy swimwear storm
AN AUSTRALIAN Olympic swimmer has sparked outrage on Twitter after posting a picture of herself in a bikini. There are even calls for her to be dropped from the Australian swim team.
Triple gold medalist Stephanie Rice was given the two-piece swimsuit, named the 'tomb raider', as a birthday present from the designer Ellie Gonsalves. She then posted a photograph of herself wearing it.
One Tweeter said the outfit was "too sexy", reports the New York Daily News, while another wrote: "Stephanie Rice posting a photo of herself in swimwear has brought disgrace to the Australian swim team and she should be dropped."
There were also claims that by posing in the swimsuit she could have breached a sponsorship contract with Speedo. However, her management said she doesn't have a relationship with Speedo any longer. They added: "Stephanie isn't an ambassador for Ellie Gonsalves, she just loves their stuff."
Rice has found herself in deep water before. In 2008, she sparked outrage when a photograph of her posing in a skin-tight police costume appeared on her Facebook page, prompting Swimming Australia to order all swimmers to block public access to their Facebook profile pages. In September 2010 she had to make a tearful apology after writing "Suck on that, faggots" when Australia beat South Africa in a rugby union match.
Fans have nevertheless been quick to defend Rice, who is the world record holder for the women's 400m individual medley. One supporter wrote: "I don't see how anyone could find it 'offensive'. Just a chick in a bikini, have they never been to the beach?"
As Rice landed in London today, ahead of the Olympics, Westlife's Brian McFadden joined in the messages of support, tweeting: "I thought you looked great too. Do they make it mens?"
Rice has since been named by Forbes as one of the 'Top 25 Olympic athletes to follow on Twitter'. One person who has definitely not suffered from the publicity is designer Ellie Gonsalves, who also posted a picture of herself in the bikini and has seen sales of the 'tomb raider' soar.