Lolo Jones Bobsledding Paycheck Vine Video Sparks Outrage; Defended By Teammate
Lolo Jones, the Olympic track star-turned-bobsledder, posted a video to her Vine account in which she reveals her earnings for seven months of work during the bobsled season – $741.84.
After the short video shows the amount paid to her by the U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation, the camera finds Jones. She pretends to put a call into her landlord, saying, “I’m going to be a little late on my rent this month.”
Although it seems that the video was done in jest, fellow bobsledders were not amused. "The way it came across to a lot of the athletes here was kind of snobby because she's one of the most well-known athletes in the world and she's making pretty good money in endorsements," Olympic bobsledding gold medalist Steven Holcomb told USA Today. “And to basically turn around and slap us in the face because you didn't make any money this year in bobsledding while taking money from other's athletes?"
Unfortunately for Jones, Holcomb was not alone in his displeasure. Other bobsledders and fans of the sport took to Twitter to lambaste Jones' Vine video. However, Jazmine Fenlator, an up and coming bobsledder, took to Jones defense. After commentating on Jones’ character and respect for the support, Fenlator urged those who see the video to see the deeper message that the athlete was trying to get across. “Topics get attention by instances like Lolo's vine,” she told USA Today. “So now that there is attention on the topic of struggling to make ends meet while pursuing a goal/dream for the love of sport and maximizing your abilities to excel within that sport, I ask for people rather than judge how it was presented to become aware and help make a change.”
Jones reiterated Fenlator’s commentary in a statement put out through Red Bull, one of her sponsors from her hurdling career. “I didn’t want to offend anyone, and I’ve always wanted to help out my bobsled teammates,” she said, “The bottom line is that all Olympic athletes dedicate their lives to their sports and do not receive lucrative paychecks like athletes in mainstream professional sports.”
Jones and Fenlator will compete together at the 2014 Winter Olympics.