07/12/2012 3:53 PM
TORONTO - Olympic swimmer Julia Wilkinson has put her best face forward - and it has been noticed.
Wilkinson's features are posted on the wall of Toronto's St. George subway station, one of the city's busiest. The gorgeous closeup showing half her face is larger than her 5' 10" frame in person. The photo certainly isn't indicative of her attitude though - no big head here.
In fact, the photo has caused her some concern.
"I'm worried someone will draw something inappropriate on me," she said with chuckle from Montreal.
A friend in Toronto has promised to intermittently monitor the activities of bored transit patrons armed with magic markers and keep her posted.
Wilkinson is one of nine Olympic athletes to be chosen in the "Give Your Everything" campaign. One of the goals of the campaign is to maintain the excitement from the Vancouver Olympics and showcase our athletes.
"My biggest supporters are people from Stratford," she said.
Those who don't know her personally know of her and feel more invested in her performance, she suggested. The goal of the campaign is to get more information out about Canadian athletes and increase interest and support outside of their hometowns.
She'd like to go to Toronto and stand beside the Give Your Everything campaign poster but that will have to wait until she returns from the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
"I don't even think anyone in my family has gone to look, that's the sad thing. My mom said, 'I love you but I'm going to the cottage.'"
Wilkinson has been on the Canadian Olympic swim team since 2006 and has held her own against the best in the world in the pool ... and now out of the pool too.
Wilkinson ranks 45th in the Bleacher Report's Top 100 Hottest Female Olympic Athletes for 2012. Mention it, and she cracks up.
"I think it's funny," she said.
A friend found it and posted it on her Facebook page.
Wilkinson describes herself as "awkward" in high school and jokes this is what she's been waiting for her whole life.
"Because I took a lot of women's studies classes (in university) I feel like I shouldn't like it, but the girlie part of me is, like, 'This is awesome!'"
Her fiance, Shane Minks, was "stoked" when she made the hot list.
Her family seemed puzzled.
"My dad said, 'Hottest in what way?' I said, 'Looks.' He said, 'Oh, weird.' My family knows me as big, dorky Julia, not someone who belongs on a list like that," she said laughing.
Ironically, Wilkinson is decked out in sweats in her "hot" picture while many athletes, including the non-swimmers, are in bikinis. She's just glad it was a "decent" picture and not one of her red-faced with wet hair after a meet.
While her teammates teased her about making the list, she had some fun with it as well.
"I played it up for a couple of days to be annoying. My coach was, like, "Oh, dear.'"
Her first priority is the back stroke and having confidence going into the Games that she's strong, healthy and fast. Making the Top 100 won't get her on the podium, but "anything to boost confidence at this point can't hurt," she said.
The opening ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be held July 27. Wilkinson swims the following day and won't make the ceremonies.