Look, I am NOT a Lolo Jones defender. I think she is a remarkable athlete…I think at times, her “star power” outpaces her accomplishments, and I think at times her headaches are of her own making. Not so today. I actually find myself mad about some of the cheap criticism coming Lolo’s way. It’s as if the petty critics couldn’t wait for Lolo’s team to fall behind on its first runs so they could jump up and down on her.
The Irony is, these writers and athletes are doing EXACTLY what they criticize Lolo for.
Here’s the first article I found on Bleacher report this morning. Jonathan Snowden wrote that Lolo is not a transcendent sports figure for her acomplishments…he writes:
No, the cameras are there because Lolo Jones is a virgin. An attractive, 31-year-old virgin. And so, six years after she burst into our collective consciousness at the 2008 Summer Games, there she remains—her 15 minutes of fame extended.
The first word that comes to mind is lazy, the second is uninformed.
Snowden’s 15 second research foray on Google didn’t reach back far enough to find the context of Lolo’s entrance on to the national and international stage. After a childhood overcoming occasional homelessness and a lack of resources many other Olympians have, Jones became an all-american track star at LSU. She went on to a decorated international career that includes world championships. Her story became emotional and compelling when she lost the 2008 Olympic race that she was winning. Her compelling reaction to that failure and ability to pick herself back up made her a figure many people could identify with. THAT is her back story. The idea that her admission she was a Virgin is what made her a media superstar is as stupid as it is oversimplified.
A second article this morning gave voice to the criticism of a guy who didn’t make the USA Bobsled team this year. I mean it’s not as if he has an ax to grind so lets give him 15 minutes in the spotlight to run his mouth about a race he apparently either didn’t watch or (after participating in the sport) doesn’t understand.
Kudos to NBC for looking at Lolo’s performance objectively...as in…using the numbers. Lolo’s start times are better than most of the teams that she is trailing. That’s her job…her only job. Push the sled fast, get in quickly and duck! She did all those things better than all but three other brakemen AT THE OLYMPICS! By any objective standard..that’s a pretty good athlete.
Has Lolo Jones stepped in it about a dozen times? Sure. were those mis-steps all of her own making? You bet. Does her candor get her in trouble? Absolutely.
That said, this criticism is ironic. These writers are using the celebrity that Lolo’s achieved to target her. They are writing about her performance to draw hits on a website and draw attention to themselves. It’s criticism, that conveniently leaves out the facts to create more of a firestorm around a person they are criticizing because the spotlight shines too brightly on her! Get over yourselves.
Lolo Jones did her job yesterday. She deserves to be competing at the highest level of this sport. Get over it.