Why Is Everyone Giving Lolo Jones Such A Hard Time At The 2012 Summer Olympics?
During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jones was on her way to winning a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles when she accidentally hit the next-to-last hurdle, lost her balance, and ended up coming in seventh place. So, the last four years have been about training hard to come back stronger than ever so that she could win gold in the 2012 Games. And, it looked like she’d be able to do it, too. Entering London, she was the favorite to grab the gold medal.
But, the rejection of Lolo Jones started long before she stepped into the starting blocks. In the months leading up to the Games, Jones did a ton of press—the subject of her virginity made her a very hot topic—and utilized her Twitter account to get her name out there. So, by the time she got to London, she was already the most popular female track and field star in the U.S. And, at the end of them, she’ll probably go down as the most popular female athlete overall. But, just a few days before she started running her races, The New York Times ran a piece that ripped her for being “the Anna Kournikova of track.” The profile on her said that she was all hype without very little results on the track.
Jones initially brushed the piece off. But, when it came time to race, she was unable deliver. Despite running one of her best races of the year, she was beaten out by Australian hurdler Sally Pearson and U.S. hurdlers Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells by 0.1 seconds and missed out on winning a medal again. The following day, she appeared on NBC’s Today show and admitted that she was hurt by what some people were saying about her and even cried when a reporter brought up the fact that U.S. publications like the NY Times were ripping her. And, to make matters even worse, Harper and Wells also appeared on NBC later that day and ripped her, too. They said that they were upset that she’d gotten so much attention going into the Games and then proceeded to say that they should have gotten that attention.
But, did Jones really do anything wrong here? The way we see it, if she hadn’t done so much press in the months leading up to the Olympics and she hadn’t used her Twitter account to her advantage, no one would be talking about the U.S. women’s track team. In fact, they might still be talking about the fact that Allyson Felix snuck into the Olympics to run the 100-meter race despite tying with sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh during Olympic trials. That wouldn’t have been the kind of press the track team was looking for, either.
The point here is that Jones hasn’t deserved a lot of the treatment she’s received from fans, media, and even teammates during the Olympics. All indications are that she’s a hard worker who has been a victim of overexposure and jealousy. And, we sincerely hope that all of this hoopla doesn’t stop her from continuing to try and be successful in the world of track.
The 2012 Summer Olympics were supposed to be about redemption. She didn’t get it. But, that doesn’t mean she should stop trying—no matter what anyone out there says.