Lolo Jones competed in the 100m hurdles at the Olympics. (US Presswire)
By Bryce Miller, USA TODAY
LONDON - Even though two-time Olympic hurdlers finalist Lolo Jones said she has yet to read a scorching item about her in the New York Times, she admitted frustrations with explanations of how it portrayed her.
The weekend story - headlined "For Lolo Jones, Everything is Image" - contends Jones sold out parts of her non-track life for money and attention.
"I didn't read it, but I heard it was quite bad," Jones said after racing in the Olympic 100-meter hurdles final Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium. "I don't understand why they would rip a U.S. athlete apart two days before they run."
An emotional, tearful Jones talked again about the issue on NBC's Today on Wednesday, the morning after her fourth-place finish.
"They didn't even do the research," she said, noting that she's an accomplished hurdler and a two-time world indoor champion. "Just because I don't boast about these things. I don't think I should be ripped apart."
A section of the Times item: "Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be - vixen, virgin, victim - to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses."
Jones, speaking Wednesday to NBC, said, "Putting your heart out there, it opens you up to a lot of negativity.
"I think it's a shame I have to deal with so much backlash."
Silver and bronze medalists Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, talking to NBC's Michelle Beadle, questioned all the attention Jones has been getting.
"(We're going to" push your story aside and still going to push (Jones), that hurt," said Harper, who won the gold medal in Beijing. "That hurt my feelings.
"I felt my story was pretty good, too."
Wells was more direct: "On the podium tonight the three girls that got medals earned their spot, worked hard, did what they needed to do and prevailed. That's all that needs to be said."
Jones said doubts about her chances to medal in London - and intentions off the track - only add to the frustration.
"Honestly, I just feel like a big disappointment," she said. "So I guess all the people who were talking about me, they can have their night and laugh."
Bryce Miller also writes for the Des Moines Register
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