Published August 12, 2012
It’s not easy being beautiful–or a beautiful Olympian.
Track and field athlete Lolo Jones has gotten plenty of press–but not so much for her athletic prowess. Instead, Jones is now known for her knockout looks, racy photo spreads and love of fellow virgin, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.
The New York Times called her out, declaring that Jones “decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be — vixen, virgin, victim — to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.”
The Times also challenged Jones to prove them wrong, stating, “If Jones can remain composed and improve her technique and speed, she can also write a great and improbable story of Olympic redemption.”
Jones didn't do that, placing 4th in the 100-meter hurdles final in London on August 7, finishing behind teammates Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, who earned silver and bronze medals for the United States.
“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 the morning after her race–not speaking of her crushing loss, but of the aforementioned article in the New York Times. “They called me the Anna Kournikova of track.”
Not wanting to go down history as the green-eyed beauty who competed in two Olympics without ever earning a medal, Jones reportedly wants to try yet again at the 2016 Olympics–at the relatively elderly age of 34.
"Gail Devers called me and said she was ... 37 when she got her last medal," Jones told the Associated Press of the two-time Olympic 100-meter champion. "The Olympics are only once every four years so you have to take advantage of all your opportunities, both to be an inspiration to people and help support your sponsors who help you."
But realistically, what are the chances of a thirtysomething athlete successfully competing in the her third Olympic trial?
“There’s a long four years between now and the games in Rio de Janeiro,” legendary Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel told FoxNews.com. “But if Lolo wants to go to Rio and compete–give it one more shot to get a medal–maybe that’s the most important thing in her life. Either way, she’s not going to go quietly.”
But entertainment and sports experts say even if Jones does not qualify for the games in Rio de Janeiro, the 5’9” stunner still has plenty of career options.
“I come from the school of, ‘If you have it–flaunt it,’ and I would like to think that Lolo has ‘it’–whatever ‘it’ is,” Lobel explained. “She may overdo it a little bit, but I’d like to think that apart from her athletic career, she can be pretty successful at whatever she does.”
“I'm sure every major Hollywood agent is clamoring to get a meeting with her, as her great looks and exuberant personality could certainly make her a new Tinsletown treasure,” said AlwaysAlList.com editor Jawn Murray. “At the very least, expect to see her on an upcoming season of ‘Dancing with the Stars!’”
“Lolo finished 4th in the hurdles but she's still one of the biggest winners to emerge from the London games,” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper told FOXNews.com. “She handled the backlash against her with honesty and a little bit of defiance and humor. She's beautiful, smart, she has a playful sense of humor and even though she didn't win a medal, she's still an elite athlete with a great back story, a great look and a following that transcends sports.”
While reality TV is certainly one option, the telegenic Jones may also have a career in sports broadcasting.
“I don’t even know if knowledge of other sports is a requirement these days, but Lolo certainly is hot property–she elicits controversy from everybody who watches her and follows her,” Lobel explained. “She definitely one of those people who will elicit a reaction. I don’t think that’s bad–those are the people who will make a difference. I think that the people who are for Lolo will be behind her and be forgiving, and the people who are against her may change their mind. She’s smart, and she’s got the ability to mature and grow a little bit–and change people’s minds.”
For her part, Jones makes no apologies for her outspoken nature.
“I don't regret doing any stories or being in magazines,” Jones told the Associated Press. “It was hard work and if it made an impact on anyone in a positive way then I wouldn't change it."