BEIRUT: Lebanese Alpine skier Jackie Chamoun responded Tuesday morning to a slew of criticism that she received from local media after posing topless for an Austrian sports calendar.

Chamoun, 22, is one of two athletes representing Lebanon at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Three years ago, she and fellow Lebanese Olympic skier Chirine Njeim, 29, posed for the annual Ski Instructors calendar at the Faraya ski resort outside of Beirut.

The 2014 calendar has been out since November; but in the run-up to the Olympics news of the photo shoot resurfaced and local media have been fiercely critical of the young athlete.

Local news media have been referring to the photo shoot as a scandal, and the Youth and Sports Ministry Tuesday said it asked Lebanon’s Olympic committee to look into the case.

In her first public acknowledgment of the controversy, Chamoun apologized for offending her conservative supporters.

“I just want to make it clear to everyone who commented, shared the photos that appeared on the net in Lebanon yesterday. Yes, I did photos for an Austrian ski calendar with other professional athletes,” she wrote in a public message on her official Facebook page.

“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,” she added.

The annual calendars feature male and female Olympic athletes and are the brainchild of six-time Mexican Olympic skier and German Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe…. see more