SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Lebanese skier Jacky Chamoun apologized on Tuesday after photos and a video from a shoot three years ago surfaced on the internet, causing a stir in her Arab nation.
Chamoun, who also competed in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and lives in Switzerland, said the material that appeared on the internet showing her topless was not part of the shoot for an Austrian skiing calendar.
“Yes I did photos for an Austrian ski calendar with other professional athletes three years ago,” she said in a statement posted on her facebook page.
“The photos of the photoshoot are not like the actual images that are now circulating on the net. The video and photos that you are now seeing are part of the making off, the preparation, it wasn’t supposed to go public.”
The photos in the calendar show the Lebanese scantily dressed but not naked. The photos that appeared in recent days show her topless as she prepares for the shoot.
“Anyways, I want to apologize to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticize this,” said the 22-year-old.
“Now that I‘m at the Olympic Games, these photos that I never saw before are being shared. It is sad. All I can ask to each of you who saw this, is to stop spreading it, it will really help me focusing on what is really important now: my trainings and race,” said Chamoun.
The Lebanese Olympic Committee said the images were not representative of the nation’s sports but would not call the athlete back.
“The Lebanese Olympic Committee will not ask to exclude Chamoun from the Sochi Games in adherence to the Olympic rules, especially since the offence did not take place during the preparations (for the Games) nor during the Games,” it said in a statement.
It did however say it did “not reflect the real image of the Lebanese sports.”
Additional reporting by Mohamed Nasoli in Beirut, Editing by Ed Osmond