Nick Green, the Australian Olympic team chief, has slammed a newspaper as “disgraceful” for describing triple-gold medallist Leisel Jones as overweight just two days before the start of London 2012.
Swimmer Leisel Jones’s physique was today targeted in the Melbourne Herald Sun, which suggested she may be out of shape as she prepares for her fourth Olympics.
The paper questioned whether Leisel Jones, 26, fits into her swimsuit as well as she did four years ago, while a poll asked readers whether she is fit enough to compete.
A caption under an unflattering photo of Leisel Jones in the athlete read: “The Olympic veteran’s figure is in stark contrast to that of 2008.”
Nick Green has hit out at the paper for treating her in this manner.
He said: “I think it’s disgraceful to be honest. I’m disappointed with the article and it’s extremely unfair on Leisel Jones.
“She is a triple Olympic gold medallist for this country, I think she deserves a lot more respect than she has been given.”
Leisel Jones won the 100-meter breaststroke at Beijing in 2008 and is competing at her fourth Olympics.
Her coach Michael Bohl said he was happy with her condition.
Michael Bohl said: “She’s been doing nine sessions a week, and two gym sessions a week coming into this, and we were really happy with her form.”
Leisel Jones was also supported by former 400 meter track gold medallist Cathy Freeman, who described the comments about the swimmer’s weight “un-Australian”.
Cathy Freeman said: “It’s not very friendly or encouraging at this stage.”
But Leisel Jones denied she was feeling pressure about her weight.
Leisel Jones said: “I’m so relaxed, and I’m just really enjoying everything about these games and the lead-up.”