Amid all the controversies surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympics, one picture of a bare chest has created shockwaves in Lebanon - and it is not one of the famous macho images of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Lebanese skier Jackie Chamoun, who was previously unknown to many in Lebanon and abroad, and has suddenly become a talking point for all the wrong reasons. Lebanese athletes who make it to international events are often self-sponsored, in a country where the budget for the ministry of sports is next to nothing. So when the two-strong Lebanese team appeared on television at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics, it was a pleasant surprise for many. But interest quickly faded and few were following their progress until old pictures resurfaced of Ms Chamoun posing topless on snowy mountainside in northern Lebanon.
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By Erika Solomon. Switzerland-based Jackie Chamoun, 22, who is skiing for Lebanon at the Winter Games in Sochi, has apologized for photos and a video that appeared online, saying they were never meant to be published and she understood the criticism inside the conservative country. Often described as the playground of the Middle East, Lebanon is more open than many politically and socially conservative neighbors. The original photo of Chamoun, who also competed at the last Winter Olympics, was featured in a ski-calendar. The photo trend has caught on, with many young Lebanese taking their own pictures and posting them to the page, and even companies have joined in. Almaza, the popular local beer owned by Heineken, posted a photo of its green bottle, without a label.
Sochi 2014: Skier Jacky Chamoun's topless photos cause stir in Lebanon
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But the Lebanese athlete, who is set to compete in the slalom and giant slalom at the Winter Olympics, has been forced to apologize after photos and a video of her topless from a fashion shoot dating back three years ago surfaced. The footage, part of a behind-the-scenes look at her posing for an old Austrian skiing calendar, has caused a stir in the Arab nation. Writing on her Facebook page, the year-old admitted being photographed "with other professional athletes" and pointed out that the pictures for the calendar are different from those "now circulating on the net. The skier added: "Anyways, I want to apologize to all of you.