Source: USA TODAY
Jazmine Fenlator is an Olympic hopeful. She’s also Lolo Jones’ bobsled teammate. After Jones posted a Vine video on Monday cheekily complaining about her $741.84 check from the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, Steven Holcomb, a 2010 Olympic gold medalist, called Jones’ comments “a slap in the face.” Other athletes also posted criticisms on Twitter.
Fenlator, a rising star in the sport, reached out to Jones throughout the day as the two-time Olympic hurdler prepared for the U.S. championships which begin Friday in Des Moines. Fenlator, a driver, paired with Jones to win a silver medal at the World Cup season-opener in Lake Placid, N.Y. Like most of her teammates, she also juggles multiple part-time jobs while training in Lake Placid.
When asked by USA TODAY Sports to weigh in on the issue, Fenlator sent her thoughts via email:
“On today’s vine video, as her teammate and fellow member of Team USA, I personally did not take this video offensive although I can see how different perceptions were taken. Maybe this is because I know Lolo, was her roommate the majority of this past season and the intent was by no means to be malicious or degrade her peers and the sport. I saw it rather as poking fun through comedy at a situation bringing awareness of the struggles of full-time athletes training for the Olympics, the struggle for the opportunity to wear “USA” on their backs as a united front to be the best in the world (one that comes every FOUR years) and the struggle to make a name for yourself while following your dreams hoping to be an inspirational outlet for others along the way.
“Many members of the team took offense to Lolo’s vine as if it was a personal attack on them and the sport. Lolo has been nothing but humble since entering the sport, embraced its hard work and blue collar like references and has grown to truly love the sport. As she is getting ready for USA Nationals in a sport she has done for approximately 20 years, she reiterated to me in a text how much bobsled means to her and how she has grown to love the sport more and more since day 1 and can’t wait to be back. It’s sad how media outlets and the perception can be very skewed to what people want to make it out to be or those whom never have really taken the time to get to know an individual how easy it is for them to judge and point a finger. This is often the risk one must embrace when a public figure and using social media as a voice.
“Regardless of personal opinions looking at history, never once was an issue resolved because a person took the “safe” route of exploitation. Topics get attention by instances like Lolo’s vine. So now that there is attention on the topic of struggling to make ends meet while pursuing a goal/dream for the love of sport and maximizing your abilities to excel within that sport, I ask for people rather than judge how it was presented to become aware and help make a change.”