USMagazine, Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 1:00pm (PDT)
It's been a tough week for Lolo Jones.
During the women's 100 meter hurdles final at the London Olympics August 7, Jones, 30, finished in fourth place in 12.58 seconds. The Iowa native spoke about her devastating loss and the intense media scrutiny surrounding her career during a TODAY interview with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie August 8.
"I was crushed afterward," Jones told Guthrie, 40. "I know I had the best race of my season, not the best race of my life. I had the best race of my year.... It doesn't take away from the pain. I was so close to once again having a medal and not getting it."
Later in the interview, Guthrie asked Jones to comment on a recent New York Times article that compared her to tennis pro Anna Kournikova, 31. The article, published August 4, claimed that Jones' media coverage was "based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign."
The article also claimed that 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."
Calling it a "crazy misogynist hit piece," a teary-eyed Jones said the article in question was "crazy" and "heartbreaking."
"It was two days before I competed and then the fact it was from a U.S. media outlet. . . They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes," Jones told Guthrie. "Instead they just ripped me to shreds. I just thought that it was crazy because I worked six days a week, every day for four years for a 12-second race."
"The fact they just tore me apart, it was just heartbreaking. They didn't even do the research. Called me the Anna Kournikova of track. I have the American record. I'm the American record-holder indoors," Jones added. "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."