LONDON – An angry British female Olympic weightlifter put an online bully in his place with a spirited and eloquent response to a series of offensive Twitter taunts.
Zoe Smith, 18, was targeted on the social networking site, with one user in particular issuing a stream of disgusting remarks that accused her of lacking femininity and questioned her sexuality.
Smith, who will compete in the 58 kg category, had the last laugh by confronting her tormentor on Twitter, then writing about the experience on her personal blog.
A user called "infidel1978" initially made disparaging comments about Smith and teammates Hannah Powell and Helen Jewel after the trio was featured in a BBC documentary about their training called "Girl Power – Going For Gold." When Smith responded, the pair then engaged in an ongoing web battle which the weightlifter can claim to have comfortably won.
"I wouldn't even look at you," infidel1978 tweeted. "I'd think you was a bloke and so would 9 out of 10 lads."
"Your futile attempts at insulting us have brought me many giggles!" Smith responded. "It makes me laugh that you think we'd give a toss what a closed-minded, clearly weak fool like yourself who can't handle a bit of muscle thinks anyway!"
Infidel1978: "In other words your insecurities are kicking in lol. Now piss off back to the kitchen and make your boyfriend a sandwich he's hungry."
"Meh, not particularly," Smith responded. "I just find it funny to argue with idiots on the internet. What a very original comeback, you are a credit to men everywhere. I bet all those feminine women you speak of are queuing round the block for a chance with you!"
Smith has since changed her Twitter handle, while infidel1978's account had been deleted as of Tuesday evening. Smith and her colleagues have started to attract a strong following since the Girl Power documentary showed their grueling training regimen and bubbly personalities.
Not all of the attention, however, has been positive. Smith discussed the issues her and other female weightlifters have faced in a post on her own blog.
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"We don't lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that," Smith wrote. "What makes them think that we even want them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we're flattered. But if you don't, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place?
"Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our 'manly' muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favorably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?
"This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren't closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any woman with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren't weak and feeble."
Women's weightlifting was introduced at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and has enjoyed a gradual growth in popularity. Many of the women's sessions in London have been sold out for months, especially those featuring the home-grown trio of Smith, Powell and Jewel.
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