Even though the women's 100 meter hurdles event is over, some animosity is lingering within Team USA between silver and bronze medalists, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, and the fourth-place finisher — and an athlete who's become a controversial face of the Olympic games — Lolo Jones.
After Harper, the gold medalist in Beijing, made comments directed at Jones to Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden that drew some controversy, she and Wells went on NBC Sports on Wednesday morning, where Michelle Beadle asked her about those comments. After the jump is video (and a transcript) of the interview. It was ... awkward.
Beadle: You thought you weren't getting enough respect ... Why is that?
Harper: I feel I had a pretty good story -- knee surgery two months before Olympic trials in 2008, to make the team but 0.007, not have a contract ... working three jobs, living in a frat house, trying to make it work. Coming off running in someone else's shoes getting the gold medal. Uhhh, I'd say I was pretty interesting. I just felt as if I worked really hard to represent my country in the best way possible, and to come way with the gold medal, and to honestly seem as if, because their favorite [CLOSE UP ON LOLO JONES FROM TUESDAY NIGHT] didn't win all of sudden it's just like, 'Were going to push your story aside, and still gonna push this one.' That hurt. It did. It hurt my feelings. But I feel as if I showed I can deal with the pressure, I came back, and I think you kinda got to respect it a little bit now.
Beadle [to Harper and Kellie Wells]: You guys kinda hang out together ... Is there fighting amongst the team -- we're talking about Lolo Jones if you can't figure this out -- is there an awkward situation or now that it's over we've all just moved on?
Wells: Well, I think that, on the podium tonight, the three girls that earned their spot and they got their medals and they worked hard and did what they needed to do, prevailed. And that's all that really needs to be said.
Harper: BOOM! Just like that.
Beadle: You can cut the tension in here with a knife.
Jones has heard criticism before, most notably from the New York Times, and Wednesday morning, in an interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie, revealed how much that affected her state of mind.
"I think it was crazy just because it was two days before I competed, and then the fact that it was from a U.S. media,'' Jones told Savannah Guthrie before fighting back 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, which is heartbreaking.
"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."
I guess we'll find out how she feels about her own teammates taking her to task soon.