Bobsledders: Lolo Jones didn't deserve her spot on Olympic team

Mikaela Conley
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Contention seems to follow Lolo Jones wherever her fast feet run.

Jones, who is set to become just the ninth American to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, was selected to the U.S. bobsled team last Sunday, joining teammates Aja Evans and Lauryn Williams. But now the very women she beat out for the third and final spot are making their opinions known that Lolo's fame, not her athleticism, earned her a spot on the team.

"I should have been working harder on gaining Twitter followers than gaining muscle mass," Emily Azevedo, one of three women fighting for the final spot on the U.S. women's bobsled team, told USA Today Sports.

"I feel this year there was a certain agenda," Katie Eberling, the other athlete who was vying for Jones’ spot, told the paper. Eberling ultimately was named an alternate for the team. "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."

[Photos: Spotlight on Lolo Jones ]

Athletically, Jones made a name for herself in track and field. She was a favorite to win gold in 100-meter hurdles at the Beijing Olympics but ultimately finished seventh after tripping on a hurdle. She finished fourth in the same event at the London Games in 2012.

But she has long made headlines for more than just her fast feet.

The 31-year-old has openly talked about her decision to wait until marriage to have sex, and she once challenged Eric LeGrand to a foot race via Twitter, not knowing the former college football players was paralyzed in a game in 2010.

She only picked up bobsledding in 2012, after the London Games.

Both Eberling and Azevedo have been in the sport significantly longer. Hal Eberling, Katie’s father, told the Chicago Tribune: "I just don't understand, with [Katie's] numbers and achievements, how she could be left off the team.”

And Curt Tomasevicz, a veteran brakeman, told USA Today, "It's hard for me to name one or two athletes that would completely agree with that decision.”

In response to the criticism, U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele told The Associated Press that Jones "absolutely" earned her spot on the Olympic team, even though it was an "incredibly close" decision between Jones, Azevedo and Eberling.

[ Related: USBSF defends Jones' selection]

Still, some went so far as to charge NBC as having a hand in deciding to select Jones. Selena Roberts, a columnist for Sports on Earth, wrote, "NBC has a teen crush on Lolo Jones. If it could, the network would tattoo her name on the skin of its lens."

Without providing any actual evidence, Roberts goes on to say that because Lindsey Vonn, the usual darling of women's winter sports, is out of the competition because of an injury, NBC needed another woman to take her place to help boost ratings.

Roberts continued: "Now it's clear: This is the two-straw love affair that NBC needed after losing Lindsey Vonn. Lolo is the replacement star, the sex appeal sub for the injured ski queen, a hot storyline to ride down bobsled's serpentine track. NBC's convenience is another's conspiracy."

NBC executive producer Jim Bell told USA Today called the accusations "utterly ridiculous."

"This is the deepest field of push athletes we've ever had," Steele said in a release. "We knew heading into the season that the Olympic selection was going to be extremely difficult. It's a good problem to have, but it meant that some outstanding athletes would not make the Olympic team."