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Fourth-Place Medal

Teenage Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith vs. her Internet haters

Fourth-Place Medal

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LONDON — Zoe Smith began her athletic career as a gymnast but opted to try weightlifting when she was 12. In 2010, she became the first British woman to win a weightlifting medal in the Commonwealth Games. Now 18, she's expected to be one of Great Britain's highest-placing female weightlifters at the London Games.

Alas, for some, she's a "lesbian" and looks like a man.

This week, she was featured on a BBC3 documentary called "Girl Power: Going For Gold." (Watch the full doc here.) After it aired, Smith said she was faced with a "small percentage" of viewers who maligned her on social media — from men and women.

The Mail had one such example of the trolling, in which "infidel1978" told her to "make your boyfriend a sandwich he's hungry." (Ah, talking smack to a weightlifter with the protection of Internet anonymity …)

[ Related: U.S. powerlifter Holley Mangold adapting to life in the limelight ]

Rather than take the abuse, Smith struck back with an impassioned screed on her blog that's gained major attention in the U.K. and inspired many of her fans.

From Smith's blog, a response to those who went after herself and her fellow weightlifters:

"After reading for a while it became more and more obvious that these people had never done a moment of exercise in their life, or had the intelligence of a potato.

"The obvious choice of slander when talking about female weightlifting is 'how unfeminine, girls shouldn't be strong or have muscles, this is wrong.' And maybe they're right… in the Victorian era. To think people still think like this is laughable, we're in 2012!

"This may sound like a sweeping generalisation, but most of the people that do think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pigheaded blokes who feel emasculated by the fact that we, three small, fairly feminine girls, are stronger than them. Simple as that. I confronted one guy that said 'we're probably all lesbians and look like blokes', purely to explain the fact that his opinion is invalid cause he's a moron. And wrong. He came up with the original comeback that I should get back in the kitchen. I laughed."

She also had strong words for the female critics of the weightlifters featured on the BBC doc:

"Apparently we're 'weird' for not constantly eating crap, binge drinking regularly and wearing the shortest, tightest dresses that the high street has to offer. Sigh…"

The weightlifting events in London will take place between July 28 and Aug. 7 at London's ExCel Centre.

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