Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Rio 2016 Olympics: Emma Trott, sister of Olympic golden girl Laura, speaks out over backlash

The New Zealand-based sister of Britain's Olympic golden girl Laura Trott who was branded a "bitter" and "jealous" sibling in the UK media has today spoken about her shock and sadness over the extraordinary backlash.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Laura has come out to staunchly back her sister Emma after an interview on Britain's ITV television was described as "awkward".

The Mirror newspaper said 26-year-old Emma's "lack of enthusiasm" for her sister's win was immediately apparent to viewers of ITV's Good Morning Britain show.

She was blasted on social media for seemingly playing down her 24-year-old sister's achievements.

"Laura's not worked any harder than anybody else, everyone works hard to get to the level in which them 24 riders were at," Emma said during the interview.

Linda Villumsen (R) and Emma Trott (L) during the 2016 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena on February 18, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images
Linda Villumsen (R) and Emma Trott (L) during the 2016 Halberg Awards at Vector Arena on February 18, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images

"But it was the hours of sacrifice, not just that we made from not going to school discos or going out with friends or the sacrifices that mum and dad made for us.

"The amount of times that Laura kicked up a fuss on hills because Dad and I were dropping her [and she said], "If you don't slow down I'm going to ring Mum, she can come and pick me up".

"I think back to them moments and I think how on earth was she the one that made it to be Olympic champion, you know."

Emma, a personal trainer living in Christchurch for the last two years, also revealed during the interview that she hadn't watched her sister's race as she'd been working.

The interview provoked a flurry of criticism on social media.

"Get the violins out for Emma Trott, maybe a crowd funder for a thick blanket? It's obviously very cold in her sisters shadow", Twitter user Tom Howarth posted.

Another Tweeted, "Someone needs to tell Emma Trott that there are more flavours than salty. Jealousy is ugly".

Emma, who is in a long-term relationship with New Zealand Olympic cyclist and current world time trial champion Linda Villumsen, today told the Herald that she stands by her comments.

"It was a lot of fuss made out of nothing really," she said.

"I'm going to stand by what I said. It's who we are. It's the whole family in a nutshell and is probably why Laura is able to keep her feet on the ground. That achievement what she achieved is no different to what anybody else in a walk of life has achieved, just because she's done it in the public eye that it's deemed different."

But Emma said she was stunned and hurt by the backlash.

She says that she is "probably the most vocal, supportive person" of Laura.

"I'm her sister, of course I'm proud of her. She is incredible, she's a phenomenon on the bike. There's no-one else on the track like her," she said.

"I spoke to her after the race and I didn't say well done to her because I didn't feel the need that I had to.

"She knows I'm proud of her and that what she has achieved is bloody awesome. We just spoke about normal life things. We've always been like that and that's testament to Mum and Dad. Yes we know to celebrate a good achievement but we also know to keep our feet on the ground.

"Like I said to her yesterday, before I did that [ITV] interview, she's been a pain in my arse for the last 20-odd years but it's a pain that I would never want to go away. I wouldn't know what to do without my little sister.

"I told her yesterday that even if she gets knighted and she becomes a dame, there's no chance in hell that I will be calling her Dame Laura - not because I'm not proud of her, but she's always going to be Laura, my little sister."

Laura has tweeted that any suggestions of a sisterly spat are nonsense.

"If only you people knew. She is one of my biggest supporters She's been there for me through thick and thin. She was my idol growing up," Laura said.

Laura was born prematurely, suffered from asthma and a collapsed lung, and was pointed towards sport to help her breathing.

She and fellow British cycling star boyfriend Jason Kenny are Rio's glamour couple, taking their combined gold medal haul over three Olympics to 10.

- NZ Herald

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