Why would an unnamed European target Coutts?
She was certainly a threat in the final, but was by no means the favourite. Fran Halsall was the fastest qualifier, Femke Heemskerk was in sparkling form, Coutts had an outside chance.
What constitutes an elbow?
The call room is a busy area, swimmers are stretching and swinging limbs at a tremendous rate. Could this have been accidental? Or could the assailant have deliberately warmed up near Coutts, knowing that she would hit Coutts?
The European finalists were Ranomi Kromowidjojo (lane 2), Fran Halsall (lane 4), Femke Heemskerk (lane 5), Jeanette Ottesen (lane 6), Aleksandra Herasimenia (lane 8). Coutts swam in lane 5.
In Shanghai the finalists came out in reverse spearhead formation, so lane 8 first, then lane 1, lane 7, lane 2, lane 6, lane 3 (Coutts), lane 5 and finally lane 4. The finalists might have walked up the stairs in question in the order that they came out out of the race, or in lane order... or none of the above. Coutts emerges at 36 seconds in the video below, she doesn't look too happy.
Why did Coutts wait until now to speak out about this?
She didn't. She wrote about this back in August 2011 in an athlete diary.
Fran Halsall saw the incident
Femke Heemskerk has reacted with shock to the Coutts story. In the Dutch tweets she says she has no idea who might have done this. This is notable as Heemskerk came out for the final immediately after Coutts.