Here’s what you’ll learn from watching Lolo Jones on a reality TV competition show: Lolo Jones is an incredibly strong and passionate brat who likes to talk a lot and loudly and treats every game like a life-ending competition. No one wants to win anything in life more than Lolo Jones.
On The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros, a special season of the most under-appreciated sport in America, Challenge veterans (aka The Champs) get to compete against a team of professional athletes (The Pros), which consists of a few recognizable names (former NFL linebacker Shawn Merriman, MMA/UFC star CM Punk) and a bunch of athletic people I don’t know (snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, skier Gus Kenworthy, etc.).
Most important and controversial is the incomparable Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones, who, three episodes into the season, has proven to be the type of athlete who not only has the heart of a champion but wants to rip out and eat the hearts of other champions.
Quite blatantly, this version of The Challenge is meant to make the pro athletes feel crazy in a reality setting and make the Challenge vets feel weak and pathetic against stronger people. Seems like an easy formula for compelling drama, but most of these episodes would be dull if not for the mess of Jones, whose flair for drama is almost as if she already has it in her and loves to be publicly offensive.
Here she is in the premiere episode getting loud and tight after the team decides to write names on limes to randomly choose who goes into the elimination round. (Rather than the usual individual prizes, all the contestants are playing to raise money for their respective charities.)
What happens when you place a bunch of diplomatic athletes in the dramatic environment of reality TV competition is that they settle into reality TV roles quickly. In this case, Louise Hazel, a British track and field star, becomes the shady, cutthroat leader and Jones is the most hated member of her own team.
Jones’s annoyance is backed up by the fact that she’s actually a strong competitor and easily beats her components in one-on-one competitions, which makes her perfect in this ridiculous Challenge setting.
Here she is arguing with Lindsey Jacobellis over a simple game of touch football. When Lindsey tries to tell Lolo to chill out and be a good sport about all this, Lolo reacts with, “She’s not my fucking mom!” and calls Lindsey “a fucking bitch.”
Here’s Jones on Tuesday night’s episode complaining about being chosen once again for the elimination round because her teammates visibly cannot stand her.
As villains tend to do, she would probably chalk this all up to being misunderstood.