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France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates after defeating Canada's Milos Raonic in their men's singles tennis match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 31, 2012. Tsonga prevailed after winning the third set 25-23. (PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS)

France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates after defeating Canada's Milos Raonic in their men's singles tennis match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 31, 2012. Tsonga prevailed after winning the third set 25-23.

(PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS)

Public editor: Photos of Olympic athletes stir debate among readers Add to ...

Like most readers, I love watching and reading about the Olympics. There are great human interest stories like Clara Hughes (two months from her 40th birthday) whose tenacious ride to fifth in the women’s time trial ends her Olympics career on a high note.

Or how about Brent Hayden who missed the finals in his last two Summer Games, but pushed hard to win a bronze the other night.

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Globe Sports coverage has captured those tales and more with wonderful writing and quick, accurate reporting from our team in London and the reporters here.

The coverage has been comprehensive in the newspaper and online with stories and video published as events happen, especially stories on our Canadian athletes but also on major news from other countries. This is unlike in the U.S., where host broadcaster NBC has been criticized for holding back on live coverage.

I haven’t heard that complaint from Globe readers because we don’t hold back, but a few readers have complained about our photo selection.

Several didn’t like the front page photo Monday showing the back of bronze medalist Jennifer Abel and a front shot of medalist Emilie Heymans both in tight dives during their great performance.

There were photos of Jennifer Abel online and in the paper showing her face, but the photo of the two in their synchronized dive was a wonderful almost mirror-like image of the front and back of a tremendously difficult dive. 

Two readers called to say this was a disservice to Jennifer Abel and we should have shown both divers’ faces, not contorted mid-dive as was Heymans. We did have a photo showing both joyously holding up their medals on the front of the London Olympics section in the newspaper. It is important not just to show the photos of the winning athletes but also to demonstrate the athleticism involved.

On Wednesday there were more complaints, again relating to photos. The main art on the front page featured Michael Phelps, the American swimmer who has now won more medals than any athlete in the history of the Olympics. Also on the front page, above Phelps, were three smaller photos of Canada's bronze medal winners. The paper's Olympics section showed the U.S. relay team cheering, and inside the section were three larger action shots of Canada's synchronized divers and our judo and weightlifting medalists in action.

Several readers thought that emphasis was wrong and we should be celebrating our own athletes more and the world Olympics news less. I agree that as Canada’s national newspaper we need to cover the major Canadian news prominently, and the sports department is doing that.

However the paper also needs to cover the news of the Games related to all countries, including when a long-standing record for the number of medals is broken. That news is important and I think most readers want to know about international stories as well, even though they may not always agree with our front -page emphasis.

Then there was a photo from the epic tennis battle between Canada’s Milos Raonic and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showing Tsonga at the moment of his victory. One reader thought we should have shown Raonic, but not only did Tsonga win, it was a great picture of him.

So while we clearly focus on our Canadian athletes, our editors are also driven by news decisions about the Games. And part of the news is showing the athletes in the midst of difficult routines.

Let me know what you think about our balance so far between showing our athletes and their victories and Olympic news from all countries.

Please comment below or you can email me at publiceditor@globeandmail.com on this or any other subject.

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