Speaking with NBC’s Michelle Beadle, Harper and Wells made it clear that they are tired of the media coverage their teammate Lolo Jones is receiving, insinuating that she’s not talented enough to garner the attention she’s received. Harper, who took home the silver medal in Tuesday’s 100m hurdles, said that her feelings were hurt when the cameras never turned away from Lolo.
“I thought I was a pretty good story. Knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team by 0.007, not have a contract, working three jobs, living in a frat house, running in someone else’s shoes to get the gold medal… ehhh, it sounds pretty interesting. Coming from East St. Louis. I just felt I worked really hard to represent my country to win the gold medal. I just feel like because their favorite didn’t win, we’re going to push your story aside and still gonna push this one, that hurt my feelings. But I showed I can deal with the pressure and came back [after coming in fourth in 2008], and I think you’ve kind of got to respect it a little bit now.”
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When Beadle asked was there tension among the teammates, specifically in their relationship with Jones, Wells, who won a bronze medal in the event, weighed in for the knock-out punch:
“Well I think that on the podium tonight the three girls that earned their spot and they got their medals and they worked hard and did what they needed to do, prevailed, said Wells. “And that’s all that really needs to be said.”
Remarking upon the tension, saying that it could be “cut with a knife,” Harper replied:
“BOOM. Just like that.”
Watch the Harper and Wells interview below:
It sounds — and looks — to us like they wouldn’t offer Jones a drink of water on a hot day. For her part, Jones, who has been much-hyped because of her good looks and virginity but failed to medal at the Olympics, cried because of all the venom directed her way by United States media.
“They should be supporting our US Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds. I just thought that that was crazy because I worked six days a week, every day, for four years for a 12-second race and the fact that they just tore me apart, which is heartbreaking.
“They didn’t even do their research, calling me the Anna Kournikova of track. I have the American record. I am the American record holder indoors, I have two world indoor titles. Just because I don’t boast about these things, I don’t think I should be ripped apart by media. I laid it out there, fought hard for my country and it’s just a shame that I have to deal with so much backlash when I’m already so brokenhearted as it is.”
See Lolo’s interview here:
We’re not sure if the obvious bitterness was directed at Jones during the interview, the media, or a both, but one thing is clear: It was not an interview of champions.
Harper and Wells have every right to be proud of themselves and their achievements, but some hint of empathy and goodwill towards their teammate wouldn’t have been entirely out of order.
What happened to good sportsmanship?
See below for Jones, Wells and Harper in a press conference: