The media seems to have won this round in the “hurdlers war of whose more popular Lolo or the “other hurdlers”. I am so proud of our American Women doing so well 2nd,3rd,and4th place . For me personally it was a little hard for to watch the interview with Harper and Wells and I can understand their discontent with their own lack of media attention. They probably would express their Olympic moment differently if they had a re-do. Sharing the pride in their accomplishments celebrating their stellar performances not the medias interest in their feelings about other athletes in the race.
Blogger Jerry Hinnen expressed that perhaps” it isn’t either of these women’s fault for the way they feel but the media’s response”.
Joanna Hayes said in her article Lolo Jones, Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells: Controversy or Media Hype?
“…critics have the right to say she is over-rated – that is freedom of speech just like journalists have the right to write articles and say how inspiring and beautiful she is. And Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells have the right to celebrate their Olympic Gold medals without people saying they are bashing Jones. The media has a job and the more controversy they can create, the better. ….All athletes need to be smart about how they respond when the spotlight is on them. At the same time, the public needs to be smart and understand when a situation is being manipulated by the media.”
Joanna Hayes 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist 100m Hurdles and Super Mommy to Zoe recently weighed in on the conversation regarding the silver medalist and the bronze medalist Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells and their post win interview.
“Quickly, for those who do not understand track & field, and specifically hurdles, let me explain something. The hurdles are a technical event like the high jump. Athletes must clear a bar(s) – the only difference is they do so going top speed with competitors on each side. Hitting a hurdle equals poor technical execution. If a high jumper does not clear a bar people do not say, “If she/he didn’t knock the bar off she/he would have won”. Hurdles are the same: it does not matter IF, it only matters THAT. Jones would agree, as she has admitted that she failed to execute and cannot win that way.
Once Jones had the media attention she literally ran with it. She has sponsors galore and competes in Red Bull headbands, Oakley glasses, and Asics shoes – just some of her paying sponsors. She found herself in magazines, most notably ESPN’s the Body Issue where she posed nude. She made herself available for events from the ESPY’s to Red Bull parties to the X Games. In addition she became a Twitter star with her funny and sometimes-controversial tweets. So, let me say this: Great job Lolo! I, for one, believe that she capitalized off of her story, as well as her track success and failure in the right way. If one wants fame and fortune then go after it and that’s what Jones did. No one should be mad at her for that because given the opportunity most people would do the same. Some people may be more private and do not want public attention but no judgment should be cast either way.
Question: If the roles in Beijing were reversed between Harper and Jones who would be famous right now? Harper for falling on the last hurdle or Jones for winning the gold? Be honest…
In the four years of post-Beijing competition Harper and other hurdlers, including but not limited to Kellie Wells, would go on to have more successful outdoor seasons than Jones. Harper would even add a World Championship Bronze medal to her resume. To her credit, Jones won 2010 Indoor World Championships and set a new American Record at 60-meter hurdles. This achievement receives little attention because indoor competitions are often considered practice for outdoor and many athletes train through this season so they are not always at their best or do not compete at all. Nevertheless Jones holds the American indoor record. Then Jones continued to receive the majority of attention without making one outdoor national team after the 2008 Olympics. She may not have the best credentials, but she remained the most popular hurdler, which is where the issues arise. Some may call the “issues” jealousy.
Fast forward to 2012 which was billed as Jones’ redemption year. She was featured on ESPNU and got massive publicity for her story (which is truly inspiring). She was also featured on Real Sports getting huge attention because she revealed that she is a 29 year old virgin. BOOM! There it was - the moment she truly endeared herself to the world.This beautiful Christian girl who suffered devastation in front of millions, grew up partially homeless, has an infectious sense of humor, and is a virgin? Now that is called perfect timing. All that, as well as the fact that her injuries were made public knowledge time and again, made her the one the world wanted to see make the Olympic Team and redeem herself.” Read the entire post here