Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells upset Lolo Jones is focus of media’s attention (Video)

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.

Beadle: Wow.

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

H/T Business Insider

Around The Web

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.styczek Adam Styczek

    Nobody buys your shoe story? Is it Lolo Jones fault that media take so much attention or maybe it’s your lack of charisma?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Siciliano/100003898577169 Tony Siciliano

    And now Lolo is on tv crying about the media.  Was she crying when the media was fawning all over her?  It’s a two way street, Lolo

  • http://www.facebook.com/BWalst Brandon Walston

    Well what should you expect seems like we have lost purpose of Olympics intstead of celebrating that they won gotta take shots at Lolo. Its not her fault that she got media coverage she got I mean she did have the best story what was she supposed to do say no, I don’t know if they are highly paid. Just even when winning a medal they both are still bitter would have been nice to see some class.

  • beastwork

    You’re over simplifying this.  For Olympic athletes, or athletes that don’t participate in the major sports, media coverage and marketing play a HUGE role the amount of money they make.  These athletes often have short shelf lives due to injury or age and while it may not matter to you as a spectator, it is indeed serious business when a less accomplished competitor gets the admiration.

    You say it would be nicer to see some class, but I learned at an early age that the squeaky hing gets the oil.  They have a legitimate beef here, perhaps they could have gone about it in a different way, but sometimes the truth just needs to be said.

    Lolo obviously is more attractive and appeals to the Euro-centric ideals of beauty so she is easier to the market.  But if something like that was getting in the way of my money, I would stand up and cry foul as well.

  • http://twitter.com/divaprecious The Precious Diva

    In light of the “Hurdle Controversy” let me quote this post:”Harper, the 2008 Olympic hurdles champion, grew up in tattered East St. Louis, Ill. That city’s famous Olympic athlete, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, was her mentor. In Beijing, Harper had no shoe endorsement, so she ran and won in a pair of borrowed spikes. But all anyone asks about is Jones.”Yes, you read right. She ran AND WON in a pair of “borrowed spikes” – wow. That is all is can say. Whether Lolo is a virgin or a vixen or a victim at the end of day she is not a “medalist.” In 2012, Harper and Wells are. I hope they get the endorsement deals and the shine they deserve and, furthermore, that they earned. They should not have to answer questions about Lolo. This is their time. Ask about their stories. Their journey to the medals they earned. I blame the media for this drama. Black women and this issue of beauty is a thorn. Serena Williams is not only beautiful but a CHAMPION. Yet, Kournikova reaped millions in endorsements despite NEVER winning a tournament as a singles player. I’m just tired of this same tired old marketing campaign that throws the “chocolate body” not only under a bus but under the radar. Before anyone else tries to discuss Gabby’s hair remember that the little girl is just as much beautiful as she is a CHAMPION. With that being said, this post is not to take anything away from Lolo. I am not mad at her for “capitalizing” off her “moment” and her “look.” But, I hope Harper and Wells get the shine they deserve. No, they don’t “look” like Lolo but they are beautiful women who are also “WINNERS” so let them pose on the cover of ESPN’s “Body Issue” after all is was their “bodies” which won a medal and therefore deserves to be “endorsed”… And, for that they deserve to discuss THEIR JOURNEY IN THEIR INTERVIEWS AFTER THEIR WINS AND THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT LOLO JONES.

    *goes back to work*

  • SweetPeaHeeler

    Yes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease but this is different. As for the jealousy & endorsements that Lolo has been given…No company is obligated to choose 1 athlete over another athlete. Even if 1 athlete chooses to be a whining, crybaby “squeaky wheel”. Companies choose who THEY feel is best for their company. Dawn & Kelly whining “My story sounds pretty interesting”….”I worked really hard” (as if Lolo didn’t work hard to finish 1 spot away from bronze.) does’t accomplish anything. It makes them look like bitter women who couldn’t wait for a mic to be put in their face to ask what they think of Lolo. I don’t think men would snipe @ somebody the way Dawn & Lolo spilled their guts about Lolo. Next Olympics, will advertisers think back to this whining/moaning and say “This time, lets not go with the attractive athlete that just missed out on winning gold in the last Olympics….let’s pick somebody not as attractive and we’ll work like crazy to make her more interesting? .

  • beastwork

    I agree with most of what you’re saying here.  You ask what does it accomplish.  It gets people talking about the state of female athletics.  Talking about the fact that female athletes must become sex objects to gain endorsements and media attention.  The sexy loser gets more personal time on the today show than the winners.

    I’m not saying that Dawn or Kelly will be selling Loreal next year because of their rant, but maybe the media will do what “journalists” are supposed to do and report the facts.  Men don’t have to put up with this sort of nonsense.  You either perform or you get no love from the media, pretty boy or not.

    the point is that too often in womens’ athletics the pretty girls get all the attention.  That’s the purity of athletics.  It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you’re from.  All that “should” matter is performance.  Unfortunately these networks care about, or understand that.  I understand the rules of marketing.  However, that doesn’t mean that I’m willing to excuse them.  

  • SweetPeaHeeler

    Being an athlete is more than just winning a medal. All athletes that have made the olympic team have great dedication and have sacrificed emotionally, physically and financially. But not all athletes are going to attract or appeal to the masses. It is very unfair that certain athletes get more attention or recognition than others, but BOO HOO life is not fair!!! Are female athletes viewed differently than male athletes…YES. Men and women have always been viewed and treated differently, at work, in the media and yes also in sports. Male athletes do not have the added pressure of being the best & good looking, but women do. Lolo is capitalizing on societal inequalities where women make less than men and where beautiful women do better than the more homely ones. Although this is unfair it’s life and women bitching about better looking women making more money is pathetic. If Lolo a strong and dedicated athlete is smart enough to market herself and make good money, great for her. Other female athletes should focus on their own success instead of complaining about their situation. Jealousy and envy are extremely unattractive. Beautiful women will always be at an advantage and male athletes will always make more than their female counterparts, Que sera sera…and this from a feminist :) 

  • SweetPeaHeeler

    The crux of my opinion is this….Lolo didn’t take away or diminish endorsement dollars from Dawn or Kelly because she was pretty. Yes, she did win contracts because she was pretty but that doesn’t mean that Dawn or Kelly couldn’t have marketed themselves to attract different sponsors. The world isn’t fair. I don’t want to teach my daughter that whining and complaining about what somebody else achieve is desirable. Everybody in life has their own path. All 3 of these young women have their own path to blaze. There’s lot’s of $ to go around. 

  • beastwork

    Fair enough.  I would also like to teach my children that winning and producing is what matters.  I also want to give them the courage to speak up when things aren’t correct.  These two women have Olympic medals, they proved that they are among the best.  I believe they have a right to speak on these topics.

  • SweetPeaHeeler

    Champions should also take the high road. Sniping at a teammate in a spiteful manner isn’t awe inspiring. Medal success has never been proportional to endorsement dollars and WR times…not even for the men. Ryan Hall came in 2nd at the US trials. I haven’t seen 1 print or tv  ad from the 1 place runner yet.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UM2DRY3ZFIFN7Q3WZQVU2JCLTI Tan

    These girls won a medal and still are not happy because they are envious . Don’t envy Lolo she did not ask for the media attention and what did you want her to say, don’t do my story feature Dawn instead. You must be crazy. Because of your classless behaviour you may just discourage sponsors that were interested. Bamm just like that 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1617222980 Michael Moore

    Just mad because if they said THEY were virgins everyone would say….”sounds about right, I wouldn’t hit that either”. Jealous much ladies? Even without a medal Lolo will always garner more attention because she is attractive in both looks and personality….which you two are not….sorry….deal.

  • 32_34

    There are two things that attracts me to this story. One is let us not forget Lolo had a begining that could inspire millions and we learned this because she was a winner. She had won numerous world championships as well as won her way out of poverty. I knew her story and rooted for her because of that. She went into the olympics the first time as the american record holder, world champion, the most dominating hurdler in the world and our olympic qualifying champion. The world wanted to see if she had a flawless completion, we witnessed… she did not. That was the beginnig of the story not the end. these olympics she lived in tragedy because the media romance with Lolo was never realized and may never be.  It was shakespearen.  Her story was more compelling than the others. Hers was raggs to riches, it had the elements  that a lot of big time previous athletes have but it was usually from an all black athlete. This time we had an added element to it she was a mixed race child… America wanted so very much to love on her and her accomplishment  that they sat on pins and kneedles in anticipation. Success was never realized.

    They (all of America) wanted association Dawn and Kelly’s story had been written a million times only the black folks could really relate. This time white America could share in emotionally as well. This is not to slight Dawn and Kelly who are not only attractive but equally brillant as athletes. America wanted this one likie book readers want great novels. Either way she was going to be the story it is just not the one so many of us anticipated. You have people on both sides of this story some were rooting for her and others rooting angainst her. It was once mentioned that Muhammed Ali  knew that there were just as many rooting against him as was for him and he appreciated that and only wanted to know if they all paid at the gate. His story was compelling and so was Miss Jones’s. not Everybody was in her corner. Read all these post.  

  • Tatyana Amira

     I hate people sometimes. If Lolo was not a virgin, then you all would call her a slut. If she was ugly, you’d bash her for it. She is a very good person, runner, and she is intelligent and beautiful. They are soo jealous!! Dawn says she had it bad? Honey, Lolo did too! She lived in a church basement and had to support fer family of six at a young age while her father was in jail! I cant wait to see her win a medal because I know she can do it. She is an all around athlete with bobsledding and hurdling under her belt. She is a record breaker  and both of these manly looking chicks need to fall back!! I feel for Lolo because I know what it’s like to be mistreated because of something you can’t help like beauty and talent. Team LOLO! BAM just like THAT!!