Laure Manaudou's heartbreak at nude photos betrayal
THE Beijing Olympic preparations of France's gold medallist Laure Manaudou are in disarray with the swimming beauty an emotional wreck after explicit private photos and video footage of her were posted on the internet.
Manaudou, 21, has called in a team of lawyers and has pointed the finger at her former lover, Italian swimmer Luca Marin.
The offending pictures are of intimate moments during her relationship with Marin, which ended with an ugly public break-up at a recent swim meet in Hungary.
To see some of the pictures click here. Be warned they contain nudity and some observers may consider them explicit. If you are easily offended, please do not click through.
Marin last night denied any involvement, despite the photos appearing just hours after the pair's split.
The confrontation ended with Manaudou throwing a promise ring, which had been a gift from Marin, into the pool as other competitors looked on.
"I know nothing about the video and have only seen the photos," Marin told an Italian publication in response to questions he had distributed the images in a act of revenge. "Yes, it looks like it's really her but it is ridiculous to think that it was me who put them there."
Marin, a 400m individual medley specialist, also denied being abusive to Manadou during their argument.
The break-up came during what has been a disastrous European shortcourse championships, where Marin lost his 400m medley title to Hungarian Laszlo Cseh.
"They (the allegations) are inventions . . I only said that she had done a very rude thing (by throwing the ring away) and that I was happy she was no longer my girlfriend," he said.
Manaudou and Marin were a blissful poolside union during the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne last March.
Photos of them kissing and canoodling poolside appeared almost daily as they made little effort to hide their affection. But less than a year later, bliss has turned to bitterness.
Manaudou, who won gold in the 400m freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has so far declined to comment on both the photos and allegations of Marin's involvement. But sources close to the swimmer last night said she was "very upset . . . not eating or sleeping".
Manaudou, who has previously clashed with her coach and been accused of having a bad attitude to training, said only: "I've decided not to talk about my personal life anymore. I would prefer to keep silent about this point."
Manaudou left France in May to join Marin's club LePresse Nuoto in Turin, Italy, saying she intended to marry and have children with her love.
Manaudou's pet event, the 400m freestyle, is one that Australian teenager Bronte Barratt will have her eye on.
Barratt broke the national 400m record earlier this year, which had been the oldest record in Australian swimming and held previously by Tracey Wickham.