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Lolo Jones was devastated when she didn't medal in the 100-meter hurdles Tuesday, but what really hurt the U.S. Olympian was how the media in her home country treated her.
A scathing New York Times profile of the 30-year-old athlete published Saturday questioned Jones' athletic ability and alleged she "will be whatever anyone wants her to be—vixen, virgin, victim—to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses."
"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," Jones tearfully told the Today Show following her fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. "They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds. I just thought that that was crazy because I worked six days a week, every day, for four years for a 12-second race and the fact that they just tore me apart, which is heartbreaking."
"They didn't even do their research, calling me the Anna Kournikova of track," she said. "I have the American record. I am the American record holder indoors, I have two world indoor titles. Just because I don't boast about these things, I don't think I should be ripped apart by media. I laid it out there, 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."
But Jones, who has been vocal about her Christian beliefs and saving her virginity until marriage, is stronger than her critics. "Putting your heart out there, obviously it opens you up to a lot of negativity, but at the same time if I could just reach somebody out there," she said. "Maybe there's a little girl who thinks she can be an Olympic athlete and she sees all the things I struggled through to get here. Yeah, I didn't walk away with a medal or run away with a medal, but I think there's lessons to be learned when you win and lessons to be learned when you lose."
We couldn't be prouder of Lolo and think she's an inspiration on and off the track.