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Lebanese Olympic skier depicted in revealing photos says country's sports officials support her

Jacky-Chamoun.jpg

March 8, 2013: In this file photo, Lebanese skier Jacky Chamoun speaks during an interview at the ski resort of Faraya, northeast of Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanons Sports and Youth Minister has ordered an investigation into revealing photographs and a video in which Chamoun is seen topless. (AP)

A Lebanese Olympic skier depicted in revealing photographs and a video that circulated on the Internet said her country's sports officials are "on my side."

Three years ago, Jacky Chamoun posed for a calendar photo shoot. Behind-the-scenes footage recently was posted online, and Lebanon's sports and youth minister reportedly ordered an investigation.

But Chamoun said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press that most people have been "supporting me and defending me."

Youssef Chamel Khalil, the administrator of Lebanon's Olympic Alpine team, said "there is no problem" for Chamoun, and she will compete in the Sochi Games.

"It's OK. In Lebanon, there is a little bit another way to think," Khalil said. "Lebanon is a country of so many cultures."

The 22-year-old Chamoun is scheduled to race in the slalom Feb. 21.

She said the footage that found its way onto the Internet was never supposed to surface. She has spoken about the video with photographer Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, the German prince and skier who is competing in his sixth Olympics for Mexico. She said he apologized.

"He's a really good friend. It's not his fault," said Chamoun, who is from Beirut and lives in Geneva. "Not one of us knew that someone was going to search for this and do this. We didn't expect it at all."

She said that whoever put the images online was "someone who wanted to ... hurt me or the federation or the Olympic committee. We don't know. We cannot know the exact reason. It wasn't supposed to happen, but it happened."

Reached by the AP, Von Hohenlohe said that in his shots of Chamoun for the calendar, "you can't see anything of Jacky."

"Basically, I don't know what they're talking about. I think someone wanted to do harm," he said. "The pictures I took and in my calendar, you cannot see anything. Something happened. ... I don't know what you see. I know that they're not naked."

Chamoun said she initially was embarrassed the footage was on the Internet, but now she has come to terms with it.

"It happened," she said. "I have to go with it."

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