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Lolo Jones cries on the Today Show, fires back at critics

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Aug. 8, 2012 at 9:50 AM   |   Comments

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Aug. 8 (UPI) -- After finishing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles Tuesday, a tearful Lolo Jones responded to a scathing New York Times story comparing her to pin-up tennis star Anna Kournikova.

Saturday's story, "For Lolo Jones, Everything is Image," criticized the runner for her openness with the media--a lot has been made of her willingness to talk about her virginity--and for appearing nude or scantily clad in various publications.

When Today Show host Savannah Guthrie asked Jones how she felt about the story, published the weekend before her first race, the Olympian's voice cracked with tears.

“They should be supporting our U.S. 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, it was just heartbreaking," Jones said.

"Jones is not assured enough with her hurdling or her compelling story of perseverance," Jere Longman wrote for the Times. "So she has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal. And, too often, the news media have played right along with her."

Jones rejected claims that she's not a worthy athlete.

“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.”

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