For reasons unknown to Red Alert, a handful of media outlets in the United States have taken to tearing down our Olympians instead of supporting the men and women who represent the red, white and blue.
Between gorgeous Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones’ tragic upbringing, or petite, God-fearing African-American gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas “unpatriotic” uniform, the media have been brutal to the brave women who represent the Untied States on the world stage.
In a New York Times article written on August 4th, journalist Jeré Longman complained that U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones is a phony who is only focused on her image. He said that her complex media image is one of “vixen, virgin, or victim” based on how she wishes to portray herself at one time or another. This insensitive comment from Longman stems from recent interviews where Jones opened up about her rough childhood, Christian religion, and admission that she is a virgin.
The article, insensitively titled “For Lolo Jones, Everything Is Image,” explained that Jones “has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal,” citing her racy appearance on the covers of ESPN the Magazine and Outside magazine. The article was written a mere three days before Jones competed in the final of the 100-meter hurdles in London.
The article continued to lambaste the athlete, stating, “If there is a box to check off, Jones has checked it. Except for the small part about actually achieving Olympic success as a hurdler,” arguing that Lolo’s fame for her exotic beauty is not merited because she hasn’t medaled at the Olympics. Apparently, the fact that Lolo is the 2012 U.S. Indoor Champion and became the American Indoor record holder in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2010 World Championships is of little consequence to the New York Times.
The article left Lolo Jones in tears. She spoke to the “Today Show” after finishing fourth in the Olympic final for the 100 meter hurdles: “The fact that it was from a U.S. media… I mean they should be supporting our Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds.”
Jones was outraged that a U.S. media source would tear her down just a few days before her race when she trains “six days a week everyday for four years for a twelve second race” just to represent the United States at the Olympics. She concluded tearfully, “it’s a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I’m already so broken-hearted as it is.”
Lolo Jones isn’t the only Olympic athlete receiving harsh words from U.S. news sources. Gymnast Gabby Douglas received criticism on Fox News’s “America Live” after she donned a pink leotard for the floor routine that won her a Gold medal. Fox’s guest host Alisyn Camerota pointed out that Douglas’s pink outfit was not patriotic enough, as it didn’t showcase the red, white and blue. Camerota then discussed the issue with David Webb, host of The David Webb Show on the SiriusXM Patriot channel, who also protested the lack of patriotism.
Douglas even got criticized on Twitter for her hairstyle. Men and women on Twitter described Douglas’s hair as unkempt in a gelled down ponytail. In response, Douglas fought back, “I just simply gelled it back, put some clips in it and put it in a bun. Are you kidding me? I just made history. And you’re focusing on my hair?”
So why have these two athletes drawn the ire of the American press? Both Jones and Douglas have fought hard to become the athletes they are today. Lolo Jones has opened up about her difficult childhood in Des Moines; her family lived in the basement of a Salvation Army at one point, and her father spent time in prison.
Gabby Douglas’s mother has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and is nearly $80,000 in debt. She is a single mother with four children and has struggled through financial woes to support her daughter’s gymnastics training.
They battled through impossible hardships to become Olympic athletes and represent the United States, and yet curiously, Americans are complaining about their hairstyles, fashion choices, and public images. These Olympians have done the most patriotic thing possible by dedicating themselves to achieving the American dream. They are role models that encourage children across America to believe in themselves. It should be our honor, as Americans, to support them for their achievements and not criticize them for their outfit choices or good looks.