As though Lolo Jones‘ inclusion on the American women’s bobsled team wasn’t controversial enough before the Sochi Winter Olympics, things just keep getting worse from inside Team USA‘s ranks.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Things keep getting worse from people who have been on Team USA, and aren’t this year.
The most recent critic to blast Jones is Chuck Berkeley, who was part of the men’s team in Vancouver in 2010. Berkeley missed the cut to go to Sochi, but that didn’t stop him from lighting in to Jones on Twitter.
— Chuck Berkeley (@ChuckBerkeley) February 18, 2014
Now, I’m no bobsled expert. Like most people, I get into the sport once every four years for about a week, and I enjoy it a great deal. But this isn’t just poor criticism, it reeks of jealousy and an attempt to start drama, which is never a good thing.
It’s been beaten into the ground, but it’s not like Jones doesn’t have the athletic credentials to get on the team. She’s a world class track athlete. In fact, she’s not even the only crossover on the team. Lauryn Williams won gold in London as part of the 4×100-meter relay team and just took up bobsled when Jones recruited her. Williams won a silver medal, and you don’t see people cutting her down the way they are Jones.
I can even get behind the idea that she’s green, and there may be other more experienced bobsledders who could have just as easily done what Jones did. The fact remains, however, that two American teams won medals, and many of the third squad’s problems were in driving, not so much with the starts.
Apart from any of that, doing all this during the Games when the athletes are supposed to not only be intensely focused, but also enjoying a potential once-in-a-lifetime experience, is the exact opposite of what the Olympics stand for. We’re supposed to be cheering on the athletes that are representing our nation, and because Berkeley couldn’t be there, he decided to take some cheap shots at the star.
To her credit, Jones rose above any drama by cheering on her teammates and not firing back at Berkeley. “I only have good things to say about my teammates,” she said. “Chuck, I just remember him going to the cafeteria telling cool stories. He was always reading these interesting books and telling the team about it.”
It may not have been the storybook ending to the Olympics that Jones and her fans had been hoping for, but her consistent show of class, humility and athleticism should have her above these types of cheap shots, especially from her “teammates.”