Videos by OutKick
Three-time Olympian Lolo Jones slammed Olympic protests Monday and said a percentage of viewers are tuning out because of the politicization of the global event.
Jones says there’s a “delicate balance” between sports and social activism.
“I think sometimes people just want to tune in to watch sports, to just watch sports, and they’re not there for the political side of it,” Jones told “America Reports,” per Fox News. “But then on the athlete’s side, the athletes are like, ‘this is the biggest platform I’ve ever had and I want to speak my causes.’”
OutKick’s Alejandro Avila reports the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, led by the politically charged Megan Rapinoe, represented America on the world stage by taking a knee before their match against Sweden on Wednesday — the Americans were defeated by the Sweedens 3-0.
“It’s intriguing to see the U.S. women kneel before the game began. There’s going to be a lot of political analysis going on as it pertains to the Olympics this year,” OutKick founder Clay Travis said. “It’s going to be harder to enjoy, it’s going to be way more political than it has been in the past, and I think that is going to hurt the viewership — not to mention the 12-hour difference. …”
Jones’ comments come after the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony drew in 16.7 million viewers for NBC on Friday.
Fox News reports the low ratings are reportedly the smallest audience for the network broadcast in the past 33 years, according to data from the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal on Saturday.
“The time zone difference is incredible,” Jones said. “You’re dealing with 13, 14 hours, so most of the events are finished by the time we wake up in America. I think that took a lot of the…fun out of it.”
Jones said the lack of fans in the stadiums may also be another reason why ratings are low this year, and the retiring of famous athletes such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt doesn’t help.
“Not only is it the fans with COVID protocols, they don’t have their family and friends there, and this is what the Olympics is all about,” Jones said, per Fox News. “Whether they go there and win a medal…celebrate with their family after or they go there and lose…they need that support and that comfort. It’s really tough on these athletes.”
Jones is a hurdler and bobsledder who specializes in the 60-meter and 100-meter hurdles. She won three NCAA titles and garnered 11 All-American honors while at LSU, and later was favored to win the 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but tripped on the penultimate hurdle, finishing in seventh place.
“One, failure doesn’t break you. Two does not destroy you, not even three. I’ve been to three Olympic Games. I’ve come close to a medal three times and I’ve honestly, I’ve broken history along the way,” Jones concluded. “Failures have honestly given me my biggest motivation.”
Jones went on to win gold at the 2008 World Athletics Final, beating the newly crowned Olympic champion Dawn Harper with a time of 12.56. Jones was the American record holder in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.72 until 2018.