The Olympics women’s 100-meter hurdles final was last night, and Lolo Jones didn’t medal, finishing fourth. Jones, of course, was the subject of a lot of hype leading up to the Games, talking about her virginity, yukking it up with Leno and Louis C.K., eating oatmeal, etc. There’d been some blowback to this hype, most notably in a New York Times piece that said she’d “decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be” as part of a “sad and cynical marketing campaign” that propelled her fame to great heights despite her not actually being one of the top performers in her event.
The eventual results of the race illustrated this: fourth place is a respectable finish, but it was only the third-best time by an American runner in the event – Jones’ compatriots Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells won the silver and bronze, respectively. (Australian Sally Person won gold.) What did Harper and Wells think of taking a backseat to Jones, at least as far as public recognition was concerned? Michelle Beadle asked them this morning. And neither held back:
And a brief Part 2:
Well… yeah. That was a pretty substantial amount of tension. Beadle promised real-getting, and Harper and Wells delivered. There are a couple ways one could analyze this. One could look at it and say it sounds like sour grapes on Harper’s and Wells’ part that Jones became the bigger star even though they came up bigger in the event – and some did. One could look at it and think that yeah, in their spot, maybe we’d probably have some bitterness too, that we were overlooked in favor of someone we beat (while the Harper’s and Wells’ attitudes toward Jones seemed frosty, their biggest problem seemed to be with the people who made her into a star).
As for us? We’re just glad everyone got their feelings out in the open. We want people to talk. They talked, and talked honestly. While not exactly the heartwarming story of togetherness the Olympics would like you to believe they’re all about (and, in fairness, can sometimes be), this was, indeed, real. There were hard feelings, and there was no putting on a happy face for the cameras. Whether you agree with Wells’ and Harper’s feelings and/or the way they expressed them, you can’t deny it’s much more interesting this way.