There’s been plenty of speculation about whether it was fair that sprinter Lolo Jones was on the receiving end of so much media attention in advance of her fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. Was it her scantily clad shoot for Sports Illustrated? Her proclamations about virginity? Her light complexion? Her tearjerker backstory?
Olympic medalists Dawn Harper (silver) and Kellie Wells (bronze) spoke to NBC Sports in a conversation that carefully circled the issue, with Wells saying, “Well, I think that, on the podium tonight, the three girls that earned their spot, and they got their medals and they worked hard and did what they needed to do. prevailed.” Harper added that she had just as good a story as the media’s “favorite.”
It seems that Jones herself might have preferred anonymity over a New York Times piece, two days before she competed, that diminished her athleticism and chalked up her popularity to a “sad and cynical marketing campaign.” She told Today’s Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday: “The fact that it was from U.S. media. I mean, like, they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me [to] shreds, and 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, it was just heartbreaking.”
Watch both interviews here: