You might expect a defending Olympic gold medalist to be heading into this summer’s games brimming with confidence, but Twitter trolls can have a damaging effect on the steeliest of resolves.
Swimmer Rebecca Adlington, a double gold medallist at the 2008 Beijing games, is throwing Twitter in the deep end to remain fully focused on repeating her championship feats in London.
She plans to keep Twitter switched off during the games, to avoid distraction from those who criticize her looks. The 23-year-old is concerned that any insults tweeted at her will impact her focus.
"I won't be checking it or going on it a lot during the Games," Adlington said, according to The Guardian.
"The messages of support are amazing but you do have the chance of someone saying something that is going to be annoying. You don't want that added stress. You don't want to be thinking about that. I think I will just Tweet once it is over."
Adlington used to read everything written about her online but gave up because of negative epithets written in the comment sections of articles. She said that if it was her work that was being targeted, she’d be able to handle it. However, it’s her personality and appearance that are in the trolls’ crosshairs.
On Thursday morning, following the publication of her comments, she commented on Twitter that she’d seen positive reaction from some of her followers, who number almost 50,000: “Everyone’s support and kindness means the world to me and every other athlete + person that has media attention.”
The defending 400m and 800m freestyle Olympic champion added that she “would never stop using twitter though, i love interacting with my lovely followers!”
The Olympics begin at the end of July. In the meantime, Adlington’s favorite thing about Twitter is "the block button."
Photo via YouTube