Icy reception awaits Lolo Jones after posting bobsled paycheck
USA Today June 18, 2013 12:52PM
FILE - This Oct. 5, 2012 file photo shows Lolo Jones waiting for her run at the U.S. women's bobsled push championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. Jones says she's still planning to compete in hurdles at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Only now, a trip to the 2014 Sochi Games may come first. Jones was one of 24 athletes selected to the U.S. bobsled team Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Lynch, File)
Updated: July 6, 2013 11:36AM
If Lolo Jones returns to Lake Placid, N.Y., later this year in hopes of making the Olympic bobsled team, she can expect a frosty reception. After she posted a Vine video Monday cheekily complaining about her $741.84 check from the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, the most accomplished bobsledder in U.S. history called Jones’ comments “a slap in the face.”
Olympic gold medalist Steven Holcomb was in the midst of his second lifting session when the topic came up at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. “It wasn’t taken very well,” he said. “People were really kind of insulted. You just made $741, more than most athletes in the sport. So what are you complaining about?”
“The way it came across to a lot of the athletes here was kind of snobby because she’s one of the most well known athletes in the world and she’s making pretty good money in endorsements (as a two-time Olympic hurdler). And to basically turn around and slap us in the face because you didn’t make any money this year in bobsledding while taking money from other’s athletes?”
In the video Jones says, “Seven months with bobsled season. The whole season. That’s it.” On the phone, presumably talking to a mock landlord, she says, “I’m going to be a little late on my rent.” The camera shows her paycheck.
After being criticized by other bobsledders on Twitter, Jones said that she made the comment to bring attention to the issue. She tweeted: “Speaking out is the first step to change. That is how Track and field changed our sport. We demanded improvements.”
The check Jones received was based on her results last season. The (FIBT) international bobsled federation contributes money that U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation divides among the athletes. Jones and Jazmine Fenlator paired to win silver at the World Cup in Lake Placid.
Jones does not receive a stipend because she wasn’t one of the top push athletes when the season started last year. Those stipends will be reevaluated. The maximum stipend is $2,000 a month, USBSF spokesperson Amanda Bird said.
Holcomb won four golds in World Cup races and his check (from the FIBT pool) was just under $3,000, he said. “She’s brand new to the sport ...and she’s upset because she got $741? I’ve been doing it for 16 years and I didn’t get a whole lot more.”