Lolo Jones was once one of the sporting world’s most clean-cut stars, announcing on Twitter earlier this year that strong religious beliefs have kept her virginity in tact.
But it has been revealed that the 30-year-old Olympic hurdler is in a nasty fight with her own Team USA peers Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, who verbally attacked Jones on TV this week.
Harper, 28, and Wells, 30, who finished second and third respectively in this week’s Olympic 100m women’s hurdles final, spoke bitterly about Jones, who finished fourth.
Harper said during an interview on NBC Sports, that Jones is the media’s “favorite” and that her own life story is just as interesting as that of her heavily-hyped peer, who posed nude for ESPN the magazine’s Body Issue in 2009.
One might surmise that the American media has focused more on Lolo Jones than Dawn Harper or Kellie Wells because they have a racist history of focusing on pretty light-skinned or white women over black women. Jones is of mixed ethnicity – part black, French, Native American and Norwegian.
Harper said: “Because their favorite [Lolo Jones] didn’t win all of a sudden it’s just like, ‘We’re going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.’ That hurt.”
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Michelle Beadle, the show’s host, then clarified the situation for the audience: “We’re talking about Lolo Jones if you can’t figure this out.”
Wells also spoke about Jones, who has gained plenty of attention since outing herself as a virgin on Twitter earlier this year, during the interview.
She said: “Well, I think that, on the podium tonight, the three girls that earned their spot, that got their medals and they worked hard and did what they needed to do, prevailed. And that’s all that really needs to be said.”
Jones said on HBO’s Real Sports in May that staying a virgin is “harder than training for the Olympics.”
She said that being a virgin is “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life… harder than graduating from college.”
“When I was 22, 24, it was cute,” she said. “But 24 to 29, it’s not cute. You get judged a lot, a lot of guys won’t return your calls after they find out.”
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Harper stated that her own life story deserves the same type of attention Jones’s has attracted.
She said: “I feel I had a pretty good story – knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team by 0.007, not have a contract, working three jobs, living in a frat house, trying to make it work.
“Coming off running in someone else’s shoes, getting the gold medal. I’d say I was pretty interesting.”
The host was clearly floored by her guests’ comments, simply telling the camera: “Wow… you can cut the tension in here with a knife.”
Earlier this morning, Jones, a devout Christian who also appeared on the cover of Outside magazine this year in a skimpy swimming costume that resembled a strip of red ribbon, emotionally attacked the media herself on the “Today” show.
During an interview with the show’s co-host Savannah Guthrie, she spoke of her sadness over an article published by The New York Times on August 4 that said: “She will be whatever anyone wants her to be – vixen, virgin, victim – to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.”
The article also stated: “She has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex-appeal.”
It also included a quote from Harper who admitted that she was surprised to learn how open Jones has been when it comes to her personal life.
She said: “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. I don’t want that for myself or my family.”
Jones, who is actually named Lori, said to “Today” while crying: “The fact that it [the article] was from a U.S. media… I mean they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes.
“They just ripped me to shreds and I just thought 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… it was just heartbreaking.”
She added: “I think it’s such a shame I have to deal with so much backlash.”
The track athlete from Louisiana said just yesterday that she is thinking twice about discussing her virginity so openly, obviously attracting further headlines.
She told Guthrie on another episode of “Today” that she should probably “zip it” when it comes to discussing her religious beliefs.
Jones claimed that she was surprised her confession attracted so much attention.
She said: “This is my path and I was just sharing my life.”
The Iowa-born star, who took part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has been linked to football player Tim Tebow in the past, but mainly due to their shared Protestant Christian beliefs.
She was quick to squash the rumors, writting on Twitter: “I actually heard Tebow has a girlfriend he just isn’t saying it publicly. The search continues…”
She wrote earlier this year on Twitter when she “came out” as a virgin: “I do not have a hard time finding dates but I do have a hard time finding a guy that I want to date that has good morals, that’s willing to wait.”
Jones told Women’s Health magazine in 2010 that she listens to “a lot of Christian music” to help calm her during training seasons.
She also revealed that she has tried using various online dating sites and Twitter in order to find a boyfriend.
Jones said on the program that she has grown accustomed to being rejected by men as a result of her beliefs.
She said: “Here’s the two things that happen when you tell a guy you’re a virgin, this is the honest truth. One, you tell them [and they say] ‘oh ok, I respect that.’ But you can already see in their eyes [that they're thinking] ‘she’s lying about this and I’ll crack it.’
“So we’ll talk usually one to three months. Then they’re like ‘oh shoot, she was serious.’ Time for me to exit.”
The athlete also made a joke about how she would like to be the next “candidate” for a sequel to the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
“I’m a little bit awkward like Steve Carell,” she said. “I could definitely play that role… I would love to.”
Jones was left heartbroken after her performance at the 2008 Olympics.
She had been leading the final of the women’s 100-metre hurdle competition before clipping the second-to-last hurdle on the home stretch.
She finished seventh in the race.
However, she told Allure magazine just last month that Beijing had helped her finally feel pride for her body.
She admitted that “growing up, I felt insecure about my build. I didn’t feel very feminine.”
Jones admitted to Real Sports that she has been tempted to have sex in the past.
“I’ve had plenty of opportunities… please understand this journey has been hard,” she said. “I just don’t believe in it… it’s a gift I want to give to my husband.”
Jones, who has trained “four to six hours a day, six days a week” for the past 12 years, was raised in less than perfect conditions.
She and her family were forced to live in the basement of a Salvation Army at one stage of her life, due to financial hardships.
She revealed that her family once used food stamps to purchase staple items such as cheese and beans in supermarkets.
She is not the only female Olympic star to have spoken of her religious beliefs so openly.
Jennifer Nichols, a 28-year-old archer from Wyoming opened up just last month about her decision to remain celibate before marriage.
She told Us Weekly magazine: “I saved my first kiss for the man I knew I was going to marry – my fiance. I made that commitment when I was about 13 years old.”
Filed under: Entertainment, Sports · Tags: Christian, Christianity, Dawn Harper, ESPN, Feud, Fight, Football, Jennifer Nichols, Kellie Wells, Lolo Jones, Olympics, Olympics 2012, Protestant, Racism, Racist, Sports, Tim Tebow, Track and Field
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