Greg Rutherford thanks fans after 'unnecessary debate' over his son

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Greg Rutherford has thanked fans for their support after his son Milo became the unwelcome focus of negative online comments over his appearance.

The Olympian long-jumper and Strictly Come Dancing star, 29, wrote on Twitter: "We've had some great, supportive comments on this unnecessary debate about our son. You guys are a good bunch."

He also shared a blog post written by his girlfriend Susie Verrill, who had defended the two-year-old's clothing following an appearance on Saturday night's episode of the BBC dancing show.

Greg Rutherford and Susie Verrill
Greg Rutherford and Susie Verrill (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The boy was shown meeting Greg and his dance partner Natalie Lowe during rehearsals for their Viennese waltz.

Susie later hit back at detractors who had slammed her for dressing Milo in "girl clothes".

The blogger and social media editor, 28, wrote a defiant post entitled "I dress my son in girl clothes", in order to hit back at the negative comments.

Susie said she expected to receive some flak after Milo's hair was styled in a top knot, but added she was stunned at how much of the focus was on his attire in the Strictly segment: a pinkish-red top with trees on and a pair of black and white trousers.

She wrote: "I expected a lot of criticism for this; I was braced, prepared and in no way bothered. I know a top knot for a little boy is still a bit iffy and, of course, well aware it makes my cherub-faced son resemble a girl.

"I'm not a total moron and I do have the ability to see. The thing that did surprise me though was the backlash I received for his outfit and the fact I apparently, dress my son 'in girl clothes'."

She shared some of the messages posted online about her son before adding: "All I do know for sure is that normal people dress their children in however way they so wish and respect that others do the same."

Susie said she was not "upset" by the comments, and concluded "I'm safe in the knowledge Milo's trendy (I can use that word now I'm a mum) and even if he wasn't, he's happy. And that's all that matters.

"The VT from the other night showed a cheerful, vibrant young boy-girl and that's enough to keep my spirits soaring. I can gladly confirm I dress my son in 'girl clothes'."

Greg and Natalie will be dancing the Paso Doble to Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela this weekend as his bid for the Strictly glitterball continues.