Even though the selection of track star Lolo Jones to the U.S. bobsled team last week has come under fire, bobsled officials and NBC executives are denying that the two-time Summer Olympian’s fame, looks or Twitter followers had anything to do with her making the team.
"It's hard for me to name one or two athletes that would completely agree with that decision," veteran brakeman Curt Tomasevicz told USA Today.
"I should have been working harder on gaining Twitter followers than gaining muscle mass," said snubbed bobsledder Emily Azevedo.
Teammate Katie Eberling also missed out on a spot because Jones made the team.
"I feel this year there was a certain agenda," Eberling said. "It's no fault of my teammates. There's been a lot of inconsistencies and that makes you wonder what's going on. It's not right. I know she didn't pick herself. I know she's not the one to be blamed."
NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel called the allegations about Jones, “preposterous."
The CEO of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation defended the organization’s selection process. "There is no doubt in my mind that people are disappointed that Katie and Emily did not make the team," Darrin Steele said.
"But it's never about publicity or marketing. The best way to market the sport is by winning. We followed the procedure and I'll stand by that decision all day long. It was a really close call. The numbers were close. There's no question about it. That always makes it more difficult. The trending was going toward Lolo and she's a great athlete and at the end of the day that's who we think is a better brakeman for the Games."
Jones narrowly missed out on a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after a late stumble.