Olympic babe: Federica Pellegrini

Federica stretches during  training in London last week

Britain has Jessica Ennis but Italy's Olympic poster girl is swimmer Federica Pellegrini who has been in action in the pool this week.

Most female swimmers, we are afraid to say, are indistinguishable from male ones, given the masculine frame needed to succeed in this sport.  Pellegrini, however, looks like a girl and her fashion model proportions (she is 5'10") have caught the eye of Italy's photographers.

Pellegrini, who is from Mirano in the Veneto, first came to international recognition when, as a sixteen year old, she won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in the 200m freestyle.  She was Italy's youngest ever individual Olympic medallist.

At the 2008 European championship she took the world record and gold medal for the 400m freestyle.  She would eventually hold three world records in 200m and 400m freestyle.

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 she won the gold medal for 200m freestyle.

Despite possessing the rangy frame needed for swimming she possesses some enticing curves as well.

She has appeared several times on the cover of the Italian edition of Vanity Fair, perhaps never more effectively as she is in this gold paint look.

Sadly, the only negative thing we have to point out about her is that she seems to have followed this strange addiction to have more and more tattoos, which wreck her otherwise lovely skin.

Out of the pool she caused something of a stir by moving on from her boyfriend Luca Marin, a member of the Italian men's swimming team, to his teammate Filippo Magnini halfway through the World Championships in Shanghai last year.

Federica and Filippo get friendly during training in London last week

Sadly, Federica, couldn't recapture her Beijing form and failed to medal in both her events in London; a big disappointment in Italy as she was expected to be a top medal hope.  Sound familiar?

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