Four-time Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington has spoken for the first time about how her facial features earned her the wrath of fans despite her success in the pool.
New and now: Rebecca Adlington at the London Aquatic Centre recently after reportedly having gone in for a nose-slimming surgery
The 25-year-old Briton, who is reported to have gone in for nose-slimming surgery last month, refused to confirm the same, but admitted that fans made it tough for her to live with her big nose.
"If somebody else wants to know (about the nose job) well, tough luck. It's my life. Loads of women have loads of things that they do — like a Kim Kardashian or whatever — but I just think if you open yourself up in that way, there's a lot more that happens," said Adlington during a photoshoot yesterday.
The two-time gold-winner at Beijing 2008, said she was unexpectedly thrown into the spotlight thereafter. "Being a swimmer, you never think you're going to get any sort of profile, so I didn't know what fame was. I didn't expect it.
"I found it very difficult when (after Beijing) people were commenting on something that I just didn't understand. I thought, 'What's that got to do with swimming?' So, that hit me. It upset me and I'd burst into tears," said Adlington, who retired from competitive swimming after the 2012 London Olympics.
Back in 2008: A close-up of British swimmer Rebecca Adlington after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she won two gold medals. She has claimed that thousands of fans criticised her online for her her big nose. Pics/Getty Images
The swimmer shockingly had to delete thousands of messages on Twitter. "I must have blocked about 4,000 people. I actually Googled it the other day to see if there's any way I can find out how many people I've deleted. Maybe it's not 4,000, but I must have blocked at least 2,000 people. In a day, I've blocked 100-200 people," revealed Adlington.
However, she admitted that she did feel a lot more confident about her appearance now. "I'm definitely happier with how I look now. But I think you still always see the same thing when you look in the mirror," she said.