i Editor's Letter: "Should have gone to Specsavers"


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Another day, another ludicrous piece of commentary about the female form to debunk. This time it's about the woman I hold up as Britain's finest female sporting role model: our magnificent gold-medal heptathlon hope, Jessica Ennis.

A high-ranking UK athletics official reportedly told Ennis's coach that "she's got too much weight on her". To which there is only one possible reply: "Should have gone to Specsavers". Don't believe me? Look at the  photograph. Would that we could compare and contrast the abs of that "high-ranking UK athletics official".

Ennis herself laughed it off as part of the nonsense she knows she has to put up with ahead of the Games. That's as opposed to nonsense she didn't expect – like low-ranking UK athletics officials placing nine sets of hurdles on a track, not 10, and denying her a record last weekend. Still, it can be tough to count to 10.

For years, another pair of fantastic female athletes have put up with similar nonsense, particularly in this country: the Williams sisters. Their crime? Well, for one, they keep winning, which makes British tennis fans uncomfortable. But they also fail to conform to the daintier notions of femininity that see Maria Sharapova suck up so much sponsorship money. Remember the last time Dwain Chambers or Usain Bolt came under fire for having "too much weight"? Me neither.

One footballer gets this kind of nonsensical grief every time he steps on a pitch of course – especially from my friends in the Hammersmith End at Craven Cottage: Chelsea's Frank Lampard. "Daddy, why do they call him a "fat b*****d" when he's so not fat?" ask my girls, as we eye up a hulking 20-stone beer gut of a brute hurling abuse at one of Britain's fittest, finest footballers. Sigh! Should have been an optician!