Thursday, August 16, 2012

Image vs. Hype: An Olympic Debate

Lolo Jones has been the subject of a great deal of hype in the lead up to and during the Olympic Games. Without a doubt, she’s a very beautiful, strong, and accomplished young woman. She has a compelling story---growing up in poverty, star track athlete at LSU, and heartbreakingly lost a gold medal four years previous. She’s even made headlines for her decision to wait until marriage for sex.

If I had a daughter, I’d want her to be like Lolo Jones—with principles and an unrelenting work ethic. But this post-Olympic debate that has erupted following her Olympic performance is bordering on ridiculous.

Jones finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles the other night, behind two much less hyped athletes. Then the firestorm started.

Her teammates who finished second and third were much less hyped and seemed to take a shot at Jones. While this was headline news for some, I don’t see the big deal. How would you feel if you won an Olympic medal and all anyone wanted to talk about was the person who finished forth?

Yet we can’t entirely blame Lolo Jones either. America is a very photogenic society—. Media, sponsors’, and the like gravitate to certain athletes who they think will help sell their products or embody certain images that they find desirable.

Should we vilify an athlete because they have big sponsorship and don’t have to have bake sales and car washes just to make the trip to the Olympics?

Call it another media flame up.

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