By Laurie Penny
Dear Rebecca Adlington,
You don’t know me, but I’ve been a fan of yours for a while. I’m as impressed by the dignified way you put up with the press hounding you over your looks as I am by your stack of swimming medals and your OBE, and I’d like to congratulate you on your coming wedding. Now the tabloids are reporting that you have had a nose job. I just wanted to tell you that they are the ugly ones, not you.
Since you were a teenager, people have been making money by bullying you because of the way you look. I’m so sorry about that. They appear to have mistaken you for a swimsuit model, rather than the best British swimmer of your generation. The gossip press described you as “tormented” over your appearance, as if they hadn’t been the ones doing the tormenting.