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SBD/August 8, 2012/Olympics
Despite Coming Up Short At Olympics, Jones Wins At Marketing Game
Published August 8, 2012
HER SIDE OF THE STORY: Jones appeared live this morning on NBC's "Today" and emotionally discussed the fallout from the N.Y. Times article. NBC's Savannah Guthrie said, “You mentioned you’ve been dealing with a lot of tough stuff lately. The New York Times had a very tough piece criticizing you for being more image than accomplishment. How hard was that to deal with?” Jones: “It was crazy just because it was two days before I competed, and then the fact it was from a U.S. media (outlet). They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes and instead they just ripped me to shreds. I just thought that was crazy because I work six days a week, every day for four years for a 12-second race.” Jones, on the verge of breaking down, said, “The fact that they just tore me apart was just heartbreaking. They didn’t even do their research. They called me the ‘Anna Kournikova of track.’ I am the American record-holder indoors. I have two world indoor titles, and 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. I fought hard for my country and it’s just a shame I have to deal with so much backlash when I’m already so brokenhearted as it is” (“Today,” NBC, 8/8). Jones was in tears following her fourth place finish last night, and in Memphis, Geoff Calkins sarcastically writes, “I suppose the tears, too, were conjured? Maybe those were part of the marketing plan” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/8).
DOUBLE STANDARD: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes, “It’s a nasty business, this Olympic star-making machine. These athletes have one chance every four years to rake in the real gold, the endorsement and appearance money that helps compensate them for years of training.” Most people “agree they would be fools to turn down the chance to capitalize on their success and enhance the quality of their often budget-strained lives.” Yet when Olympic athletes “seek and embrace this publicity, they are criticized unless they have the medals to back it up” (L.A. TIMES, 8/8). FOXSPORTS.com’s Greg Couch wrote, “It is not Jones’ fault that she knows how to sell herself. It’s actually important.” Jones has “sold herself endlessly, but that’s exactly what these athletes with short-term careers should be doing.” She was a “marketing creation, and now will have to go back to that.” Couch: “The self-marketing did her no harm, but instead gave her prospects. She just can’t think about that now” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/7). In Newark, Steve Politi writes Jones' star turn was "all about ratings, and if Jones is a big enough star to make glib small talk on the ‘Tonight Show’ and pose in bikinis in magazines, why should they ignore that?” Jones should not be blamed for "benefiting from that attention” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/8). In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes, “Just because someone makes themselves famous doesn't mean the person is the best or even very good at anything in particular.” Purdy: “Jones doesn't seem like a horrible person. She just wasn't fast enough” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/8).