Rebecca Adlington: 'I'm not a model. I don't focus on looking good when racing…' the Olympic swimmer on how her performance is more important than her appearance
09:22 GMT, 20 August 2012
After her double gold medal success at the Beijing Olympics, followed by two gutsy bronze medals at London 2012, swimmer Rebecca Adlington has become a household name.
But as well as winning the respect and admiration of the nation, the 23-year-old has also had to cope with some cruel comments about her appearance that have come with being in the public eye.
Most famously, comedian Frankie Boyle unfairly mocked the swimmer's looks on TV and Twitter.
Role model: Swimmer Rebecca Adlington proves you can be sporty and girly in sportswear, left, and dressed up for a night out
In an exclusive interview with the Mail Online, Rebecca said she doesn't let such criticism get her down.
She said: 'I'm not a model, I'm not attractive, it's just one of those things. I've got over it.
one of those people who thinks if you haven't got anything nice to say,
don't say it. I think it's quite sad that people take the time to be
nasty. I wouldn't ever write abuse on Twitter. But that's how the world
is, I've had to get used to it and not get caught up in it.'
The 400m and 800m freestyle swimmer isn't the only one who has been subjected to vile jibes from internet trolls during the 2012 Olympics.
Tom Daley received abuse from a teen who posted offensive messages about his late father after he narrowly failed to win a medal in the
men's synchronised diving, while weightlifter Zoe Smith had to endure cruel comments about her physique.
Performance over appearance: Rebecca said she is more intent on keeping up her medal-winning ways than looking glamorous in post race interviews
Criticism about Rebecca's appearance
when she is swimming seems particularly unjustified – as she points out,
she's there to perform to her best, not appear pristine in her
post-race interviews on camera.
don't look good in post-race interviews!' she said. 'My hair is wet,
I'm bright red from racing and working hard. I don't focus on trying to
look good then.'
She added: 'I don't wear waterproof make-up. When it comes to racing I'm focussed on
what I want to do, I don't want to be worrying “is my mascara running”
or anything like that'
The 23-year-old said she does enjoy being able to get glammed up on rare nights out, when she also gets to wear her much-loved high heels.
Glam: Rebecca is looking forward to being a bridesmaid at friend and fellow GB swimmer Keri-Anne Payne's wedding
Next month, she can't wait to put her
glad rags on when she'll be a bridesmaid at the wedding of her Team GB
friends Keri-Anne Payne and David Carry.
own love life is also going swimmingly as she lives with boyfriend Andy
Mayor, a fellow swimmer, in Mansfield. The couple met when Andy, 20,
moved to Nottingham from London for his swim training.
'We're just clicked and got on right away and the rest is history,' she said.
She added that as they are both swimmers, they can understand what the other is going through when training and racing – and how it effects their lifestyle.
'We both have the same schedule and
routine. We go training together and go to bed at 10pm,' she said.
Rebecca is fully supportive of Andy's bid to make the Rio 2016 Olympic team but is yet to decide whether she will target competing at the games herself.
In the meantime she won't be resting on her laurels. This autumn she is planning a 450k bike ride in Africa for charity.