Sorry but I have to write about Leisel Jones

Nicholashugo Roar Pro

By Nicholashugo, Nicholashugo is a Roar Pro


57 Have your say

    Like Grant Hackett’s photo four years ago, when I first saw Leisel Jones’s picture, my first thought was, “What? She is representing Australia?”

    Make no mistake, that was not an unflattering picture.

    An unflattering picture is when you have an accidental double chin or something. Now I am not a professional athlete, but I do play a few sports and I do live in Bondi.

    I am not saying she is fat, but when I was playing club rugby last December in Hong Kong and bulked myself up to 77 kilos, with a fairly high BMI number, I didn’t appear as having that high a body fat percentage.

    I read an article recently about Michael Phelps’ diet and I understand just how many calories a swimmer consumes every day. This might be a case of Jones having a slower metabolism than she had when she was younger and her body just can’t process the energy she used to be able to burn off easily, but that’s what her dietician is for.

    I think as an Olympian, one has a responsibility to have some self-awareness if you are getting paid for it. It’s the professional duty of an athlete to prepare her body in a manner that would allow her to perform the best she can. What came across to me was that she did not put herself in a position to succeed.

    It may not be fair to say this about a veteran swimmer who has achieved so much, but guess what? If she swims poorly, people are not going to state the fact that she was an outside medal chance to begin with, they will be saying how she let herself down with her weight issue.

    I am not trying to objectify female athletes’ body images but Jones is not tweeting a photo of herself in a Steph Rice bikini or warming up like Michelle Jenneke anytime soon. I am only bringing them up because an athlete trying to win at the highest level would not let herself be slowed down with such a burden. Jones simply just did not back herself to be competitive.

    I have to admit I have little sympathy for people who don’t take good care of their bodies, partly because I am shallow and partly because I was a borderline obese kid and it took me years to become the welterweight that I am now. So I figured I should get a second opinion on this sensitive issue.

    I asked a mate who used to be a swimmer at school for his opinion. He said Jones is going to become a four time Olympian, so she must know what it takes to win gold better than anyone. Then he gave me an interesting theory. Now I am not sure if he was trolling or being serious, so I am just going to put this out there.

    “Fat floats, man.”

    He backed this up by saying it would increase her buoyancy and keep her out of the water.

    But in the end my mate admitted she is probably above than her ideal weight.

    I am not writing this article because Jones appears to be out of shape, but because she is an athlete who seems to not be physically prepared for the Olympics.

    I adore women of all body shapes and I genuinely believe a woman should not be judged by her body image. But this is not the Biggest Loser – making an athlete feel good about herself won’t win her a medal. We need to stop defending our athletes when they are clearly unfit.

    I apologize again for spilling the inconvenient and controversial truth on this sensitive topic, but I must respectfully decline to participate in this feel-good moment.

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • July 28th 2012 @ 6:36am
      Chris said | July 28th 2012 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      Article of the decade.

      The Australian Government (and by extension every one of us poor sods, unless you happen to be a dole bludger) spends good money on training Liesel Jones for the Olympics. It is the one time every four years where she is expected to perform and justify the spending.

      The fact she showed up out of shape is not bloody good enough.

      • July 28th 2012 @ 4:15pm
        Roger the Alien said | July 28th 2012 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

        Last time I saw Leisl she was being chased by a Japanese athlete with a harpoon (nyuk nyuk).

      • July 30th 2012 @ 5:46pm
        k77sujith said | July 30th 2012 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

        Hi Chris, she may not be in the best shape but has done far better than the hyped up Magnussen thus far. James’ athletic physique didn’t help Australia register a win this morning in the relay. Go Leisel!

        • July 30th 2012 @ 8:01pm
          Roger the Alien said | July 30th 2012 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

          I’m sure Leisl has a sense of humour too.

    • Roar Guru

      July 28th 2012 @ 7:39am
      Rabbitz said | July 28th 2012 @ 7:39am | ! Report

      You seem to have missed the point.

      She is a “hero” swimmer. She will and can do no wrong.

      Even if she does an “Eddie the Eagle” it will be a heroic effort and all the superlatives in the world will flow. (I have a tear in my eye as I think about it).

      Or she could just be milking the Olympic gravy-train for all she can by getting a swan-song junket. I can’t wait until she is announced as our next IOC delegate as she seems to be full of the right kind of Olympic spirit…

      • Roar Pro

        July 28th 2012 @ 9:41am
        Purple Shag said | July 28th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Gravy-train. Good one Rabbs. All aboard Leisel.

        By the way, this is the dumbest article I have ever read on the roar and that is saying something. Tell us more about how you bulked up for your club rugby nick. Please do. Bell end.

        • July 28th 2012 @ 9:47am
          Chris said | July 28th 2012 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          Must have struck a nerve?

          The funny thing about articles like this is how riled up the self-righteous get in response.

          • July 28th 2012 @ 10:29am
            Punter said | July 28th 2012 @ 10:29am | ! Report

            It was your reply above that I found funny, oh maybe not funny, but felt how sad some people really are, talking about you poor tax funded money as if Leisel owes you something.
            You are talking about one of Australia’s greatest ever Olympians.

        • Roar Guru

          July 28th 2012 @ 9:57am
          Rabbitz said | July 28th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report


          Don’t get me wrong it is not a criticism of Jones. I have no issue with those who see the opportunity of boarding the train and do so. Crickey I’d be first in line as the loco pulled up!!

          I do have an issue with those who built the rail network and those who jump a ride because they are media personalities and the like.

        • July 28th 2012 @ 11:10am
          Nicholashugo said | July 28th 2012 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          I’m sorry if this article hurts your feelings.

      • July 28th 2012 @ 6:24pm
        Oracle said | July 28th 2012 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

        Eric The Eel????

        • Roar Guru

          July 28th 2012 @ 8:53pm
          Rabbitz said | July 28th 2012 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

          Michael (Eddie the Eagle) Edwards.

          Ski Jumper for GB in the ’88 Winter Olympics – He finished last in, both the 70m and 90m events.

          He became popular because he was seen as ‘giving it a go’.

          The IOC changed the rules because of him so that all athletes must meet MQS (Minimum Qualification Scores) in international competition, thus the also rans and unfunded were effectively barred.

          • Roar Guru

            July 28th 2012 @ 8:59pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | July 28th 2012 @ 8:59pm | ! Report


            So, what are you now suggesting?

            That, after meeting the MQS established by IOC, all female competitors must be forced to undertake a “swimming costume photo assessment” that will be judged by Aussie couch potatoes?

            • Roar Guru

              July 28th 2012 @ 9:17pm
              Rabbitz said | July 28th 2012 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

              Not at all.

              I was actually having a dig at the sycophantic and one-eyed media who will run down an athlete on a slow news day then at a different time, rather than saying that an aussie competitor just simply wasn’t up to the task on the day or in the tournament, they are made out to be some sort of heroic super being based on past deeds and old glories.

              I have no beef with Jones (sorry couldn’t resist the pun) as she has qualified, as to whether she made the qualifying time to ensure selection and then slacked off as some have suggested I would not have a clue. I do hope for her sake she is able to give it a red hot go and bow out with some new jewellery.

            • July 28th 2012 @ 9:18pm
              Nicholashugo said | July 28th 2012 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

              Oi dude, it’s not about female athletes’ body images at all. Just basic work ethic. it’s swimming, she appeared to be so unfit to the extent that if she werent liesel jones no one would believe she is a swimmer, led alone a competitive one. Surely letting yourself go like that after qualifying is not in the best spirit of the game.

              • Roar Guru

                July 28th 2012 @ 9:33pm
                Rabbitz said | July 28th 2012 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

                As I said earlier I don’t know that she has done that (and I would suggest no-one except Jones and her coach do know) but I can’t criticise because I’d have jumped on the London bound Olympic Gravy Train if given the chance..

              • July 30th 2012 @ 8:13am
                mushi said | July 30th 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

                “basic” work ethic. So you beleive the work ethic of our second highest ranked swimmer in an event doesn’t even get past the “basic” stage.

                Very few swimmers have the work ethic to contiue to her age because of what it takes in terms of effort and commitment.

                Just an utter display of ignorance on your behalf to question if she has even a basic work ethic.

    • July 28th 2012 @ 8:19am
      AussieKiwi said | July 28th 2012 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      Wow. Did she win her place in the team by beating her rivals and swimming the fastest times or not? Many successful swimmers are not ‘cut’ like other athletes. The article is meanspirited. At least keep your nastiness until after she fails, then you can gloat all you like.

      • July 28th 2012 @ 8:25am
        Christo the Daddyo said | July 28th 2012 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        Agree. She made the team based on her performances and times. Not her looks/supposed fat levels/reputation/etc.

        • July 28th 2012 @ 11:04am
          thesportsguy said | July 28th 2012 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          agreed. who cares about those pics… if she won her place in the team, doesnt matter what she looks like. if shes there on merit and being “a great olympian” for previous feats..then this article and any attention on her has merit.

      • July 28th 2012 @ 11:05am
        Nicholashugo said | July 28th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        Not saying she should be off the team at all, not once did i question her place on the team. I am saying she didn’t prep well enough to give herself the best shot.

        • July 29th 2012 @ 8:48pm
          Jay said | July 29th 2012 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

          How do you know this? You don’t. You are speculating from photos. You have no idea what her prep has or hasn’t been, yet you state that she hasn’t prepped properly as some sort of fact. So far she’s through to the semis of an Olympic games. Not bad for someone who is “clearly unfit”.
          I look forward to her medalling.

    • July 28th 2012 @ 10:23am
      Roarsome said | July 28th 2012 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      I have no issue with Jones, she’s not a model. I do have an issue with the millions and millions of dollars we pay for athletes to achieve individual glory. Yes, there’s a little bit of Aussie Aussie I forget how the rest goes in all of us but as far as coin goes. With all the personalized training facilities, coaches, medical staff, is it really worth it on a global stage. Wouldn’t that money be better spent here and on more people.

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      • Roar Guru

        July 28th 2012 @ 12:33pm
        Rabbitz said | July 28th 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report


        How dare you question the tax payer funding that goes into elite sport. It builds national morale, don’t you know.


    • July 28th 2012 @ 11:28am
      Phillip said | July 28th 2012 @ 11:28am | ! Report

      Good article. She qualified and deserves her place but lets face it you see why she can never be on the same level as say Phelps. Those sort of future legends do far more than just qualify. They strive for their very best – all the time. She does not have that same hunger or motivation but it does not make her a lesser person or undeserving team member. I’m happy to have paid for her to be there. She earned it and I hope she does well.

      • July 30th 2012 @ 8:10am
        mushi said | July 30th 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        Interesting you chose phelps, of whom the amercian press is saying was unprepared.

    • July 28th 2012 @ 12:49pm
      Bondy said | July 28th 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

      Its a fairly poiniant point a swimmer should have a responsiblity to look or exhibit a sign of hardened conditioning [ its not excactly womens discuss ] and I have to agree the pics dont look flattering, I hope she achieves her ultimate in London though.