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Smith only courting Games glory

July 24, 2012 13:18 pm

British weightlifting star Zoe Smith is determined to use success at London 2012 to help improve the image of her sport - even if it means attracting more unwanted attention from members of the opposite sex.

Smith, 18, has already been subject to at least two marriage proposals on Twitter, and her personality has already gone a long way to shattering the stereotype of butch, steroid-boosted eastern Europeans.

Settling down is the last thing on Smith's mind as she targets a top 10 performance in London followed by a medal in Rio in 2016.

She said: "I find it hard to hold down relationships. A lot of boys do find it hard to grasp they're not the main thing in my life. My first love is weightlifting."

Smith is driven to improve the perception of her sport in order to help provide the best possible legacy post London 2012, with many young Britons perhaps inspired to take up the sport for the first time.

She added: "We're getting weightlifting out there and drawing attention to the fact that we're not all actually big. We're making it a normal sport rather the manly thing as people often perceive it.

"There was a TV documentary about three of us, and afterwards there were some pig-headed, ignorant fools who posted comments saying they wouldn't marry any of us and we're probably all lesbians.

"I answered all them to point out that they'd missed the point. People like that feel intimidated by the fact that three feminine girls can lift more than them.

"I would like to change that (perception). At the end of the day it's just a sport. It's the same as throwing a javelin or running really fast. I never set out to become some kind of strong freak - I just am."

Smith is due to compete on Monday at ExCel.

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