Two-time Olympic medallist triathlete Simon Whitfield of Victoria says a social media spat between him and American cycling legend Lance Armstrong was blown out of proportion and is a distraction he doesn't need as he prepares for the 2012 London Games, starting July 27.
"I need all my energy focused on London, and not on Twitter battles," said Whitfield, about the controversy that erupted after Armstrong went on Twitter to diss Olympic-distance triathlon as "a shampoo, blow dry and 10K foot race." A posting on Whitfield's Facebook page responded: "Disappointed to read Lance Armstrong's comments that those of us working so hard towards our Olympic Tridreams are participating in a 'joke.' "
"For the record, I didn't post the article on my Facebook page," said Whitfield, after the brouhaha found prominence on the front page of the National Post. A friend in Toronto runs the Facebook page, he said.
But more Twitter messages flew, mostly about the merits or lack thereof of drafting, which is allowed in Olympic-distance triathlon.
"We're both passionate about our sport and it was reflected in our discussion on Twitter," Whitfield said.
Let this be a lesson in modern media, he said.
"It's incredible to see the power of social media. [This went] from Twitter to the front page of the Post," Whitfield said.
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