Australian Paper Incites Backlash After Shittily Suggesting that Swimmer Leisel Jones Is Fat

Illustration for article titled Australian Paper Incites Backlash After Shittily Suggesting that Swimmer Leisel Jones Is Fat

Body-snarking Olympic athletes is pretty much a lose-lose proposition because A of all, Olympic athletes are Olympic athletes, and have therefore honed their bodies to do one particular task better than just about every other schlub on the planet, and B of all, it's super rude to criticize the way someone else looks because aesthetics are, like, subjective or whatever. It can also lead to some serious backlash, which is what Melbourne's Herald Sun is experiencing after it suggested that four-time Olympic swimmer Leisel Jones appeared to perhaps be a little heavier than she's been in years past by publishing a photo of Jones with the caption, "The Olympic veteran's figure is in stark contrast to that of 2008."


The paper's editors asked readers — as if your average reader is any sort of authority on athletics — in a poll if they thought Jones was fat or not, which prompted fellow Olympians as well as casual observers to express their outrage en masse on the zeitgeist medium known as Twitter. Teammate Melanie Schlanger tweeted, "I'm embarrassed by the Aussie media having a go at Leisel, one of Australia's greatest Olympians." Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman said that she didn't think the poll was "very friendly or encouraging at this stage," adding that the Herald Sun was being "very un-Australian" in encouraging readers to judge Jones' body. Jones has a whole pile of medals (three golds, four silvers, and a bronze) to prove that she doesn't need the Herald Sun's permission to wear a bathing suit, so maybe the sports editors over there should keep all their grubby little opinions about her weight to themselves.

Public pushback against ‘fat' comments of Aussie swimmer Leisel Jones [Yahoo!]

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It is really interesting that people would consider an Olympic athlete, who presumably has an ideal form of the human body, to be fat. That might be a great indicator that our perceptions on human health and body image to be terribly distorted.