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Lolo Jones, Image is Everything

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by rocketsjudoka, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I thought this deserved a separate thread since there is so much discussion of "hot Olympians". The NY Times has a piece about how Lolo Jones is getting so much attention even though she isn't favored and has a slim chance to medal. The US team also has the defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper in 100M hurdles who gets very little media attention compared to Jones.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/s...raws-attention-to-beauty-not-achievement.html

    For Lolo Jones, Everything Is Image

    By JERÉ LONGMAN

    Published: August 4, 2012

    LONDON — Judging from this year’s performances, Lolo Jones seems to have only a slim chance of winning an Olympic medal in the 100-meter hurdles and almost no possibility of winning gold.

    Still, 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.

    Women have struggled for decades to be appreciated as athletes. For the first time at these Games, every competing nation has sent a female participant. But Jones is not assured enough with her hurdling or her compelling story of perseverance. So she has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal. And, too often, the news media have played right along with her.

    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.

    At the 2008 Beijing Games, Jones led before hitting the 9th of 10 hurdles. She stumbled home in seventh place. To her credit, she stood and answered reporters’ questions with grace, but her career has since ebbed. Anything could happen here, as Beijing showed. Still, Jones is far from a favorite.

    She barely made the 2012 Olympic team with a third-place finish at the United States trials. Nineteen hurdlers internationally have posted faster times this year than Jones’s best, 12.74 seconds, including the other two Americans in the field. Not all of those faster hurdlers will compete in London, but enough of them will to seemingly minimize Jones’s chances.

    Sally Pearson of Australia is the favorite. Dawn Harper, the reigning Olympic champion from the United States, is also a candidate to win the gold medal, as is Kellie Wells, another American. Yet, Harper and Wells remain in shadow while Jones stands in the spotlight.

    “It reminds me of Anna Kournikova,” said Janice Forsyth, the director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

    This was a reference to the former Russian tennis player whose looks received far more attention than her relatively meager skills.

    “It’s really a sad commentary on the industry Lolo is in,” Forsyth said. “Limited opportunities are there for women to gain a foothold unless they sell themselves as sex kittens or virgins for sale. I don’t know if this is Lolo being Lolo or part of a marketing scheme to remain relevant in an Olympic industry where if you are not the Olympic champion, you are nothing.”

    Ilana Taub, a spokeswoman, said Jones would have no comment. Previously, Jones has defended her nude ESPN photograph on artistic grounds. And she has denounced a double standard that celebrates male athletes as sex symbols but derides women. She has a point. No one is complaining that Ryan Lochte is athletic eye candy.

    Of course, Lochte is also appreciated for his haul of Olympic swimming medals. Victory alone is often not enough for women. 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.

    At one point, it was frustrating, Harper said, adding that she resolved the matter through prayer.

    “I don’t care what anyone else is getting; I’m excited to be here,” she said. “At the end of the day, you can talk about all that, but you’ve still got to mention my name.”

    Yet Harper acknowledged being startled by the extent to which Jones has revealed details about her own dissolute childhood in Des Moines. Her father spent time in prison. Her family lived for a period in a Salvation Army basement. She had a brief and desperate career as a child shoplifter.

    “I’ve had family issues as well, but I’m not willing to say all of them just so it can be in the papers,” Harper said. “I don’t want that for myself or my family.”

    In recent days, Jones has been criticized for what many have called an insensitive Twitter remark in the wake of the mass shooting in a theater in Aurora, Colo. After the United States lost the gold medal to Italy in the team archery competition, Jones wrote, “When’s da Gun shooting competition?”

    She clarified her remark, saying she was referring to American pre-eminence in hunting, which she had done with Southerners. (Jones attended Louisiana State in a state known as the Sportsman’s Paradise.)

    Not always the most confident athlete, Jones has acknowledged battling doubt all season. Her modest times show it. Heats of the hurdles begin Monday. If Jones can remain composed and improve her technique and speed, she can also write a great and improbable story of Olympic redemption.

    After stumbling four years ago, she is back on her feet, back in the Games. Back in position to be appreciated for her athletic skill, not merely her sex appeal. Back in position to undress her opponents, not herself.
     
  2. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Interesting
    I don't follow Track and Field
    and I could honestly say . . . They had me thinking Jones was more highly ranked than
    she is.

    It simply not important enough for me to investigate further.

    Rocket River
     
  3. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

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    Lolo would be lucky to finish in the top 4 or 5, she's no star.
     
  4. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    That is the point of the article. She isn't a star hurdler but she is a media star.
     
  5. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    She's hot and she's a medal contender. I don't see what's the problem. She may not be the defending champion but she is a great human interest story. That's what the Olympics are all about.
     
  6. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    Well, looks matter in the media business. I mean, if Chandler Parsons had Gheorghe Muresan's face...
     
  7. Yung-T

    Yung-T Member

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    I know, just wanted to say it myself. :grin:

    One of the most overrated athletes of the last decade.
     
  8. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    life is not a meritocracy.....william hung wasn't the greatest singer, but likewise got lots of media attention....it's commonplace for the beautiful people to get ahead in life on less substance..
     
  9. ferrari77

    ferrari77 Contributing Member

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    Lol that sounds like a Ronny statement. Albeit in less words.
     
  10. DreamShook

    DreamShook Member

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    Track is not a very lucrative sport if you don't win. I can't blame Lolo for trying to get paid even if she isn't the best athlete. I still remember how she acted after the loss in Beijing and thought it was amazing, especially when she was spotted in the back tunnel over come with tears; it was an endearing moment to say the least.

    I don't follow Track that much but I catch most meets when they come on ESPN or NBC; I knew the deal: Lolo isn't good, Dawn Harper is better. Lolo even said, during the trails, that she wasn't supposed to make the team. All the media attention, knowing that she isn't even one of the top athletes has made me sour on Lolo a bit

    Dawn really needs to put herself out there more to get this money.

    I thought the Olympics were about competition. Silly me.
     
  11. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    Indeed, silly you. If you think the average person watches the Olympics for the competition, you're dreaming.

    Every sport at the Olympics has a world championship of some sort on a yearly basis, yet people only drum up interest for sports like swimming, gymnastics, and track once every four years. Why? the human interest element.
     
  12. RV6

    RV6 Contributing Member

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    She was diagnosed with a tethered spine after she clipped the hurdle in Beijing. She was losing feeling in her toes/foot, which was why she hit it. After having surgery, she had to work her way back from scratch. So, her story is more of a feel good story about overcoming an obstacle in her life, and not just about her looks, although they don't hurt at all.

    She was actually an up and coming hurdler and was favored to win gold in beijing. Had the lead before hitting the hurdle.
     
    #12 RV6, Aug 6, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  13. Harrisment

    Harrisment Member

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    Don't understand why the author cares. If she can make some money off her looks then more power to her. Jere Longman just comes off as jealous/a hater.
     
  14. droopy421

    droopy421 Member

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    Author seems bitter, like he is just trying to make her sound bad. Who cares if she has some publicity for a few weeks? Not like there are any American track stars that the average American could name anyway.
     
  15. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    Lolo is an odd girl no doubt -- she is an evangelical and is still a virgin at 27... so she says, but I seriously doubt that since she is very willing to pose for sexual pictures. I think it's all an act sort of like Tebow (he's not a virgin).

    She is unbelievable hot though (GI father hot).
     
  16. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    Well, on girls it is considerably easier to check that....
     
  17. david_rocket

    david_rocket Member

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    So this is the same case as Leryn Franco the beautiful javelin thrower from Paraguay. She is all over the media, because she is hot, but she isnt the best in her sport, she finished at no. 51 in the 2008 Olympics.

    So you dont hear about the world champion javelin thrower, you only hear about Leryn Franco because she is hot.

    She even admitted, she is not expecting any medal in the 2012 Olympics, because her career is more about the media.

    She said:

    “My situation is different from most of the other javelin throwers. I am not just an athlete. I have to be honest, my career is really in the media.”

    “If people open a magazine, they can see me there. Modeling and fashion is my job, too. It is flattering to me that people find me good-looking and enjoy seeing me wearing good fashion items.”

    Leryn finished 51st at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and she doesn't appear to be expecting a medal at the London games either:

    “I am not expecting a medal. The competition is very strong and there are athletes who are stronger than me. But I treat it seriously and I want to do my personal best. For me the best reward is just to be here. Getting to the Olympics is like a medal for me.”

    Here it is the link:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympi...n-t-expect-to-medal-in-javelin-in-london.html
     
  18. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    Eh not even close. Lolo Jones won her heat today and posted the 2nd fastest time overall in the primaries. She's almost certain to make the final heat and has a reasonable chance of medaling.

    Franco is even close to top 10 best in her sport.
     
  19. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  20. RV6

    RV6 Contributing Member

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    Franco actually goes after modeling gigs...Jones pretty much only did the ESPN body issue, which a lot og athletes do, whether they're good or not. But, like i mentioned earlier, Jones was an up and coming star and and then had that spinal problem, so if she does well the story will be how she overcame it and not her looks.

    Also, if you've ever seen a Jones interview, you'll notice she's pretty straightforward and talkative, so that makes it easier to find things to day about her (like the virgin thing).
     

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