AUSTRALIAN gold medal-winning swimmer Cate Campbell savoured the moment when she returned home to a hero's reception at Brisbane's Olympians' parade yesterday.
But Campbell, who took home her country's only gold in the pool at London in the 4x100m women's relay team, was left bitterly disappointed with the way her teammates were portrayed by a demanding media.
After the swimming team fell short of many people's expectations with just the one gold, Campbell took a swipe at the criticism her teammates were subjected to.
"I don't understand when your best is not good enough and I think the media misrepresented Australia," she said. "I really feel very strongly that you guys (media) did us a dis-service and where's the shame in having a couple of people in the world who can beat you?
"If the critics think they can do better, then they better get off the couch and get out onto the sporting tracks."
After social media was partially blamed for favourites Emily Seebohm and James Magnussen falling for its trappings and not taking home gold, Campbell defended her teammates' alleged over-use of Twitter.
"I think athletes are really good at monitoring themselves and if you want to put yourself out there, then go for it," she said.
Campbell's sister Bronte, who finished 10th in the 50m freestyle, said she was delighted with her campaign.
She believes herself, and Cate, will only go better at the Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016.
"Cate will be 24 and I'll be 22 in Rio and that's when athletes reach their peak so hopefully Rio will be our time," she said.
Fellow Brisbanite and Australian water polo player Rhys Howden took a similar optimistic view for Rio after his team finished seventh.
"We don't need to change too much. A few more international matches will probably help," he said. "It's pretty hard because we're all the way over here in Australia and (in Europe) they just cross the border and they can play a game against each other.
"It's hard for us but hopefully we can play in a few more tournaments over there. That's up to the funding we receive and the coaching staff and things like that."