For whatever reason, I couldn’t get into the Winter Olympics this year. I couldn’t even get into curling! And that was a source of endless joy in the 2010 Games. As far as I’m concerned, Wang Bingyu from China is the Michael Jordan of curling. Maybe she sucks, I don’t know and I don’t care, I just know I was entertained.

Anyway, I loosely followed the popular stories: Bob Costas’ eye(s), Canada owning us in hockey :-(, and most interesting to me, Lolo Jones’ inclusion on the 2-man Bobsled team. 1392266517570_773

Before the Games, I didn’t have much of an opinion on Jones. I knew she was a world-class sprinter and very good looking. I also knew that pretty much anything semi-controversial she posts on social media is viewed in the worst possible light.

Joke around with a fan? Self-hating jerk.

Talk about her virginity? Moralizing jerk.

Pose in ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue (NSFW)? Jerk capitalizing on her looks.

Make a joke about guns after the movie theatre shooting in Colorado? Ok, that was dumb.

Things came to a head again when Jones was selected for the team over former Olympians others felt were more deserving. She was criticized by other bobsledders (all of whom – male and female – were passed over by the way), writers including Jere Longman of the New York Times, and lots of people on Twitter. That’s when I decided to look into it. Why all the criticism of Lolo Jones? Here’s what I think it is:

See Also:  March Madness True Life: I'm A Bracket Snob

“She’s only famous for her looks, not her skill.”

This is a stupid argument.

As a sprinter, Jones is an 11-time collegiate All American, world record holder, and Olympian. Despite finishing seventh after clipping a hurdle in 2008 and fourth in 2012, you’d be ignorant to say she isn’t great at what she does. What if the only people allowed to criticize her sprinting had to be 12-time All American sprinters with two world records and an Olympic medal?

See how ridiculous it is to say she’s no good?

In her new sport, Jones trained for two years, and won three medals in different World Championship Bobsled competitions. She’s responsible for pushing the sled at the beginning of races, and braking at the end. I don’t claim to be a bobsled expert, but people who do know say she did a fine job at this and her partner showed inexperience as the driver in Sochi. To some, that’s Jones’ fault I suppose.

But let’s say Jones was slow footed and all of her fame was media created.

So what?

David Beckham is an underwear model.

Anna Kournikova won even less than Jones in tennis, what was her fame based on?

Take a stroll through Skylar Diggins’ mentions on Twitter (NSFW!!).

See Also:  Were Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells Justified in Their Lolo Jones Comments?

The Body Issue of ESPN the Magazine has 100 pages of naked athletes…every year; hell, even 77-year-old Gary Player stripped down for the magazine. Why would Jones’ participation undermine only her athletic prowess?

Being good-looking is a good thing. If someone will pay you for it, even better. Jones happens to be a decorated athlete that’s also attractive. I would’ve thought that would make her less likely to face criticism.

I wouldn’t say Jones is the perfect athlete or role model, but I think she has achieved a great deal, overcoming homelessness and media scrutiny in doing so. She’s definitely more deserving of your applause than your eye roll.

What do you think? Is Lolo Jones someone you root for? Why or why not? Hit the comments and let me know!