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Lolo Jones: Smells Like Tebow Spirit

You know The New York Times‘s bias against US runner Lolo Jones for being a virgin and a Christian must be bad when even the Gawker sports site DeadSpin feels obliged to defend her. Excerpts:

The thrust of the article is that the attention the media has lavished on Jones is not commensurate with her achievement, and (this part is key) Lolo Jones is somehow at fault for that. Basically, that Lolo Jones is a #fraud.

The piece says that Jones’s popularity “was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign.” Jones, suggests the article, wants attention for herself and the products she endorses, and this desire sets her apart from other famous athletes…somehow.

The article situates Jones within centuries of struggle for acceptance of women athletes, and pretty explicitly calls her a traitor to her gender for garnering attention with sex appeal. The New York Times points out her pose for the ESPN The Magazine‘s Body Issue, three years ago, and her cover for Outside magazine, where Jones could be seen “seeming to wear a bathing suit made of nothing but strategically placed ribbon.” They link to the cover. It’s a big ribbon. At the same time, says the article, “she has proclaimed herself to be a 30-year-old virgin and a Christian,” as if the cover of Outside magazine was a close-up of her punctured hymen, or herESPN The Magazine pose showed her shooting up inside a flaming pentagram.

DeadSpin sums the NYT profile up like this:

In sum: Lolo Jones “proclaims herself” a virgin and a Christian, but has posed for two magazine covers over the course of three years that might be titillating if you don’t have the internet. As it has with many other athletes, the media has allocated attention to her because she’s more interesting than most of her peers. She’s comfortable talking about a troubled childhood in public; other athletes aren’t. She sent out a tweet which the Times edited and took out of context to make her look bad. She’s not as a good hurdler as she was four years ago.

DeadSpin titles its item, “What Did Lolo Jones Ever Do To The New York Times?” She reeks of Tebow, is what.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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