World of Sport

Adlington nose job cannot alter her appearance as British sporting great

Has she or hasn't she?

There are various suggestions doing the rounds over the past few days that Rebecca Adlington has undergone plastic surgery to sort out a nose that has been the subject of as much debate as her career as an Olympic swimming champion.

The double gold medallist from the 2008 Games in Beijing apparently attended a clinic in Harley Street earlier this month to undergo a slimming procedure to her much-debated snout.

Adlington, 25, retired from swimming after picking up two bronze medals at the London Games in 2012, but continues to struggle with self-esteem issues, most notably surrounding her nose.

She quit Twitter after being subjected to a stream of abuse by trolls over her appearance, but there was some strong support on the social networking site about the news of the nose job.

Becoming involved in a very public tête-à-tête with Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle didn't exactly help her public profile.

"The thing that nobody really said about Rebecca Adlington is that she looks pretty weird. She looks like someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon," said Boyle on the BBC comedy show Mock The Week.

Adlington seemed to invite more abuse by complaining to the BBC about Boyle. The comedian refused to apologise despite the BBC Trust ruling that the joke should never have been broadcast.

"I worry that Rebecca Adlington will have an unfair advantage in the swimming by possessing a dolphin's face," tweeted Boyle about the swimmer around the time of the 2012 Olympics.

"Every day I look in the mirror and go, ‘God, I’m not pretty. I’ve got a very big nose’," she said during a stint on ITV's I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here last year. "That’s what most of the negative comments on Twitter are about – my nose.

"People say ‘Oh God you look like a dolphin’, or ‘I didn’t realise they let whales into the Olympics, but at least you should be able to swim faster’.

"I’d have it straightened. But I couldn’t float the idea of having a nose job before, because with swimming you only get two weeks off a year.

"Would I have it done now? I’d probably have it straightened. But it’s really got to suit your face."

Boxers and rugby players don't really worry about their looks. They are not there to conform to some absurd cosmetic expectations, but to win trophies and entertain the masses.

It is slightly depressing if Adlington feels more comfortable about a nose job to boost her self-confidence because there is nothing wrong with her looks.

She should also be celebrated as one of British sport's most successful sportswomen. Perhaps she ask herself this: Would she swap her astonishing success in the pool for a slightly smaller conk?

Aesthetics in sport should not matter. Only being the best counts.