Australian swimmer Leisel Jones thanked her media critics for making her feel more loved than ever, and faster, at the Olympics today.
The Olympic 100 metres breaststroke champion and first Australian woman to swim at four Games said she had been fired up by the reaction to comments in the media about her fitness before London.
‘‘It’s the best thing that could ever happen to me,’’ she told reporters after finishing second in her heat with the overall fifth fastest time.
‘‘I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m one of those people who if you put me under pressure, I’ll show you what I can do. I did one of my best sessions ever after I read the comments,’’ added the 2000 silver and 2004 bronze medallist.
‘‘I’ve had nothing but support,’’ the 26-year-old said of the reaction from the public and her team mates to media reports in Australia suggesting that she was overweight and only in London for a holiday.
‘‘I think that has probably touched me the most,’’ she said.
‘‘I have never had so much support in my life. So thanks to the journalist who decided to write not so nice comments about me because you have never made me feel so loved in my life.’’
Seven times world champion Jones has won three gold medals in her Olympic career and eight medals in total.
Australia’s Chef de Mission Nick Green slammed the media comments as 'disgraceful' last week and said she deserved a lot more respect.
Jones is trying to reclaim her crown as the world’s best woman breastroker from American Rebecca Soni, the 2008 silver medallist who won gold at last year’s world championships in Shanghai ahead of the Australian.