Lolo Jones finished a disappointing fourth place in yesterday’s 100m hurdles final and tweeted that she was “brokenhearted” about not medaling in her only Olympic event. But in her interview with Today this morning, that wasn’t what made her tear up.
“I know I had the best race of my season,” she said, putting a more positive spin on the race. “Not the best race of my life, but I had the best race of my year, so I just try to look at that. It doesn’t take away from the pain that I was close to once again having a medal and not getting it.”
What really tore her up, however, was a New York Times story that ran over the weekend, criticizing the hype surrounding her for being “based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign.” Australian Sally Pearson (who did in fact win gold yesterday) and Americans Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells (silver and bronze), were more favored in the race and should have received more attention, the story argued.
“They didn’t even do their research, calling me the Anna Kournikova of track,” Jones told Today’s Savannah Guthrie this morning. “I have the American record. I am the American record holder indoors, I have two world indoor titles. Just because I don’t boast about these things, I don’t think I should be ripped apart by media. I laid it out there, fought hard for my country and it’s just a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I’m already so brokenhearted as it is.”
The fact that the story came out just two days before her race seems to have deeply affected Jones.
“They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds,” she said. “I just thought that that was crazy because I worked six days a week, every day, for four years for a 12-second race and the fact that they just tore me apart, which is heartbreaking.”
So, Olympics fans, we wonder what you think about all of this. On the one hand, the 30-year-old Jones is gorgeous, as well as fascinating for her pledge to remain a virgin until marriage. On the other hand, if Harper (who won the gold in Beijing) and Wells didn’t get the same kind of hype she did, does that mean our sports priorities are all sorts of screwed up? Your turn to weigh in.