There’s a reason Lolo Jones is such a fun Twitter follow. To be more specific, there’s a reason that Lolo is so funny, revealing and controversial on Twitter. It’s the same reason anybody is good at anything: money.
That may sound cynical, or like we’re Lolo-bashing, which isn’t true. In a clip from an upcoming Nine for IX, “Branded,” Lolo herself reveals that heading into the London 2012 Olympics, she didn’t have any major sponsorships despite being at the top of her field. After doing some research, she realized what she was missing.
Take a look:
She goes into more detail in this profile from espnW, which talks about the rift that formed between Jones and her female track teammates Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells. Harper and Wells both took home medals in London, but it’s Jones that had the endorsements and publicity. Why?
Put simply, there are fewer marketing dollars for female athletes than their male counterparts, less pie to go around, and Lolo Jones happens to be one of the small number of women who’ve been able to make their brands stick. This should be a cause for celebration for all female athletes, that a hurdler — not a basketball player, not a soccer or tennis star, but a hurdler — has become a household name. Before Jones burst onto the scene, the amount of sponsorship dollars bestowed upon female hurdlers was minimal. She created a market for herself where there was none.
“It wasn’t until these Olympics, before London, that I realized how it all works,” Jones continued. “I didn’t have a marketing agent, I wasn’t doing social media, I wasn’t aware of all of the other things involved in getting these deals — because it’s not necessarily only about performance. And nobody is sitting us down and telling us, ‘Hey, two years out from the Olympics, you really should think about hiring a marketing agent, and one year out, you should have pretty much all of your Olympic sponsorships done.’ Nobody tells us that, but I learned that this time before London.”
So there you have it. Interesting Twitter follow is interesting because money. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, considering the low pay Olympic athletes have to live with. But if you thought Lolo was looking right at you when she made that Vine about needing a boyfriend, think again.