Australian Sports Minister Kate Lundy on Thursday demanded an apology for triple Olympic gold medallist Leisel Jones after media criticism of her physical appearance.
The Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers carried unflattering photos of the former world breaststroke record holder on Wednesday implying she was not in her best shape and not taking her fourth Olympics seriously.
They sparked an angry response from Australian team chief Nick Green, although the newspaper showed little signs of relenting Thursday, continuing online coverage under the headline: "Nation gets in a flabby flap".
Lundy called it "an appalling attack on her physique".
"I think Leisel Jones is deserving of far more respect," she told Sky News.
"She has earned her way to the Games. This is her fourth Olympics and it is quite appalling that she has been presented this way in the media.
"It's wrong, it's unfair, it shouldn't have happened and she is owed an apology."
In an opinion piece on its website Thursday, the Herald said "a couple of (comfortably rounded) points need to be made".
"One is that this is not about body image. No one is saying that Jones is fat. But some are asking if she is trim and taut Olympic condition, ready to contend for more medals."
Jones' coach Michael Bohl said the 26-year-old was in good shape and London was anything but her farewell tour.
"She's been doing nine sessions a week, and two gym sessions a week coming into this, and we were really happy with her form," he said.