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Olympic swimmer triumphs over Twitter troll


Natalie Calkin
WVoN co-editor

Olympic gold-medal winner, Rebecca Adlington, has silenced an Internet “troll” who sent her an abusive message on Sunday.

Adlington, an acclaimed UK swimmer, won another gold medal in Barcelona on Saturday.

A few hours after her victory,  she was forced to act when she received this message from Callum Aspley on Twitter:

“You shark fin nosed ********, you belong in that pool you ****ing whale.”

She responded by re-tweeting the message to her 51,000 followers as an example of the kind of abuse she receives about her appearance.

Many messages were sent in support – some re-tweeted the message and some reminded her of her achievements, according to the Telegraph.

“If only they could win for their country,” one message read. Another encouraged her to wave her gold medals “at twits.”

The “twit” in question is 19-year-old Callum Aspley who studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, according to the Telegraph, and is also a keen sportperson, playing rugby for the university and previously playing rugby and cricket for King Edward VI School in Lichfield.

Aspley claimed he ‘’was out with his mates and one of them got hold of his phone,” and that he did not send the tweet.

He added: “I don’t use twitter a lot and I don’t know how to delete a tweet.”

Aspley, or perhaps one of his friends, clearly knows how to delete a Twitter account because he is no longer present on the site.

Unfortunately, Adlington too has decided to refrain from using Twitter and other social media during the Olympics to avoid reading and getting “angry” about negative comments she receives.

“Most things that I read about myself are not swimming related,” the Telegraph quoted her as saying. ” They are to do with how I look, which has nothing to do with my performance in the pool.”

Undoubtedly, Adlington’s decision to avoid social media trolls is a reflection of her commitment to her sport and desire to triumph again in London 2012.

However, it is also a sad indictment of the way women, both those in the public eye and in private spaces, feel they have to avoid abuse whilst perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, as evidenced by the recent case of Nicola Brookes.

Adlington is a talented athlete and people in the UK and others around the world will be rooting for her to scoop yet more medals in this year’s Olympic games.

In the words of one of her Twitter followers: “you are an impressive, talented and very beautiful young lady. We will be cheering you every step of the way.”


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