The Sochi Network

Campaign for Olympic skier Jacky Chamoun prompts social media strip-fest

#stripforjacky (Twitter)

Lebanese skier Jacky Chamoun, who apologised after photos and a video from a shoot three years ago surfaced on the internet causing a stir in her Arab nation, is now the centre of a big campaign.

Dozens of Lebanese are stripping off in solidarity with the Olympic skier who came under fire from many in her home country, including the sports minister, who called for an investigation to be made.

The campaign titled "I am not naked" saw supporters have their naked picture taken for free as a mark of support for Chamoun.

"A lot of people are actually doing it at home," says Tarek Mouakkad, the owner of the studio, who says he is merely helping out people.

"Four, five years ago we had a lot less censorship. This case, with the Olympic champion, is the final drop that has made it explode."

One of the campaigners, Rhea Zachariou, said: "We have more important things to worry about. What about the bombings, the abuse and murder of women, the rape?

"The moment you take off your bra you feel this is it, there are no inhibitions, it felt good."

Chamoun, who also competed in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and lives in Switzerland, has said the material that appeared on the internet showing her topless was not part of the shoot for an Austrian skiing calendar.

"Yes I did photos for an Austrian ski calendar with other professional athletes three years ago," she said in a statement posted on her facebook page.

"The photos of the photoshoot are not like the actual images that are now circulating on the net. The video and photos that you are now seeing are part of the making off, the preparation, it wasn't supposed to go public."

The photos in the calendar showed the Lebanese scantily dressed but not naked. But the photos that appeared in recent days show her topless as she prepares for the shoot.

"Anyways, I want to apologize to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticise this," said the 22-year-old.

"Now that I'm at the Olympic Games, these photos that I never saw before are being shared. It is sad. All I can ask to each of you who saw this, is to stop spreading it, it will really help me focusing on what is really important now: my trainings and race," said Chamoun.

The Lebanese Olympic Committee said the images were not representative of the nation's sports but would not call the athlete back.

"The Lebanese Olympic Committee will not ask to exclude Chamoun from the Sochi Games in adherence to the Olympic rules, especially since the offence did not take place during the preparations (for the Games) nor during the Games," it said in a statement.

It did however say it did "not reflect the real image of the Lebanese sports."