Lolo Jones, the popular American track and field athlete, responded to a New York Times article critiquing her media image. "The fact that they just tore me apart — it was just heartbreaking," Jones said on the Today show as she fought back tears. "They didn't even do research. They called me the Anna Kournikova of track. I am the American record holder at indoors. I have two world indoor titles and just because I don't boast about these things [doesn't mean] I should be ripped apart by the media."
Lolo Jones finished 7th place in the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but received far more attention from US Media than Dawn Harper, the American athlete who won that same event that year. The Times piece argues that Jones' favorable coverage comes from her exotic looks and her very public virginity rather than talent.
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Jones performed better at this year's Olympics with a 4th place finish, but told Today that she was still disappointed that she didn't medal.
Harper, meanwhile, took a silver medal in the event this year, followed by another American athlete, Kellie Wells, who won bronze. In an interview with NBC, Harper also criticized the intense coverage that Jones has received. "I just felt as if I worked really hard to represent my country [in 2008] in the best way possible," Harper said, "and to come away with the gold medal, and to honestly seem as if, because [the media's] favorite didn't win all of sudden it's just like, 'Were going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.' That hurt. It did. It hurt my feelings."