Tearful Lolo Jones on NYT: ‘They Should Be Supporting Our U.S. Olympic Athletes’

Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones responded to a New York Times story that trashed her as a "vixen, virgin, victim," telling co-host Savannah Guthrie: "...it was two days before I competed. And then the fact that it was from a U.S. media....they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds....they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

On the front page of the Times Sunday sports section, Jones was viciously attacked:

In 2009, Jones posed nude for ESPN the Magazine. This year, she appeared on the cover of Outside magazine seeming to wear a bathing suit made of nothing but strategically placed ribbon. At the same time, she has proclaimed herself to be a 30-year-old virgin and a Christian. And oh, by the way, a big fan of Tim Tebow. If there is a box to check off, Jones has checked it. Except for the small part about actually achieving Olympic success as a hurdler.

Beginning to tear up on Wednesday, Jones continued: "...they need to do their research, called me the Anna Kournikova of track...I'm the American record holder indoors...just because I don't boast about these things, I don't think I should be ripped apart by media....it's just a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I'm already so brokenhearted as it is."

Guthrie sympathetically asked: "You have bared your soul. And I wonder how you look at it now. I mean, you can't help but put your heart out there. That's just who you are. But are you sorry that you did?" Jones replied: "I mean, putting your heart out there, obviously it opens you up to a lot of negativity. But at the same time, if I can just reach somebody out there, like maybe there's a little girl out there who doesn't think she can be an Olympic athlete. And she sees all the things I struggled through to get here."

On Friday, an article at Salon.com ripped Team USA gymnast Gabrielle Douglas over her Christian faith and being "so, so, so into Jesus."  


Here is a transcript of Guthrie's August 8 exchange with Jones:

7:36AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: You mentioned you've been dealing with a lot of tough stuff lately. The New York Times had a very tough piece criticizing you for being more image than accomplishment.

LOLO JONES [OLYMPIC HURDLE, TEAM USA]: Yeah.

GUTHRIE: I mean, how hard was that to deal with?

JONES: I think it was crazy, just because it was two days before I competed. And then the fact that it was from a U.S. media. Like, I mean, they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds. And I just thought that that was crazy. Because I work six days a week every day for four years for a 12-second race. And the fact that they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking. I'm not like – you know, they need to do their research, called me the Anna Kournikova of track. I have the American record holder – I'm the American record holder indoors. I have two world indoor titles. And just because I don't boast about these things, I don't think I should be ripped apart by media. So, I mean, I laid it out there, I fought hard for my country. And it's just a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I'm already so brokenhearted as it is.

GUTHRIE: You know, you have been such a public person. And you have bared your soul. And I wonder how you look at it now. I mean, you can't help but put your heart out there. That's just who you are. But are you sorry that you did?

JONES: I mean, putting your heart out there, obviously it opens you up to a lot of negativity. But at the same time, if I can just reach somebody out there, like maybe there's a little girl out there who doesn't think she can be an Olympic athlete. And she sees all the things I struggled through to get here. And you know, I wasn't even supposed to make the Olympic team. Like the U.S. Olympic team, they counted me out. I made the team. And then they're like, "She's not going to even make the final." I made the final. I went from eighth place and into fourth place. So, I just really hope that my story will give somebody hope. Yeah, I didn't walk away with the medal or run away with the medal, but like, I think there's lessons to be learned when you win and there's lessons to be learned when you lose.

GUTHRIE: Well, your accomplishments speak for themselves. Lolo Jones, really appreciate you being here and talking to us. Thank you.

JONES: Thank you for having me.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC