Lolo Jones entered the London Games as one of the US’s most well known Olympians, but she was ridiculed after finishing a disappointing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles on Tuesday. Two of her teammates who finished better in the competition expressed resentment toward the amount of media attention Jones receives.
Dawn Harper, who won silver in the 100-meter hurdles, and Kellie Wells, who took bronze, spoke about their lack of attention during an interview with NBC’s Michelle Beadle:
Below is a transcript of their conversation (via SB Nation):
Beadle: You thought you weren’t getting enough respect … Why is that?
Harper: I feel I had a pretty good story — knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team but 0.007, not have a contract … working three jobs, living in a frat house, trying to make it work. Coming off running in someone else’s shoes getting the gold medal. Uhhh, I’d say I was pretty interesting. I just felt as if I worked really hard to represent my country in the best way possible, and to come way with the gold medal, and to honestly seem as if, because their favorite (Lolo Jones) didn’t win all of sudden it’s just like, ‘Were going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.’ That hurt. It did. It hurt my feelings. But I feel as if I showed I can deal with the pressure, I came back, and I think you kinda got to respect it a little bit now.
Beadle [to Harper and Wells]: You guys kinda hang out together … Is there fighting amongst the team — we’re talking about Lolo Jones if you can’t figure this out — is there an awkward situation or now that it’s over we’ve all just moved on?
Wells: 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. And that’s all that really needs to be said.
Harper: BOOM! Just like that.
Beadle: You can cut the tension in here with a knife.
It seems like Harper and Wells’ problem is similar to Jalen Rose in that all three are upset with the media. Harper and Wells have a right to be upset; there has been very little coverage of them. They, like many other Olympians, have been overshadowed by Jones whose virginity captured the public’s attention. Knowing that they had a ratings draw on their hands, the media continued to focus on Jones, which furthered the cycle.
Jones is an excellent athlete who also happens to be attractive and have a playful personality that the media likes. That’s why she was covered so much, and it helps that she marketed herself.
Athletes are often overshadowed by teammates who draw ratings (see anyone who plays with Tim Tebow), and that’s sort of the way it goes. The way to make a name for yourself is by playing so well that you command attention, or by complaining. Harper and Wells have done both, and now we know who they are, which is what they wanted, right?
Also see: Lolo Jones cries during interview
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