The Winter Olympics are about 10 months away and there’s already disharmony among members of the U.S. bobsled team.
Lolo Jones, the Olympic hurdler who turned to bobsled last fall and helped the U.S. win three medals in her first season, upset members of the team by tweeting a Vine video (watch it here) in which she joked about her paycheck — $741.84 from the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
“Seven months with bobsled season. The whole season. That’s it,” she said. “I’m going to be a little late on my rent this month.”
Jones, who has income from endorsements stemming from her hurdling career, took up bobsledding to try to win an Olympic medal after failing to do so in the last two Summer Games.
“It wasn’t taken very well,” Olympic gold medalist Steven Holcomb told USA Today. “People were really kind of insulted. You just made $741, more than most athletes in the sport. So what are you complaining about?”
Jones sought to do damage control Monday night as the video caught fire on Twitter.
“I didn’t want to offend anyone, and I’ve always wanted to help out my bobsled teammates,” she said in a statement released by Red Bull, one of her, ahem, sponsors. “Some of them have debt because they’ve given their life to the sport. My partner Jazmine and I had to raise money for the bobsled to be funded just to finish the season, because only 2 of the 3 sleds are funded by the team. I can’t imagine halfway through my track season having to stop and raise money to finish.
“The [V]ine of the paycheck is just showing the difference between track and bobsled, and to be honest bobsledders work more hours than track! The bottom line is that all Olympic athletes dedicate their lives to their sports and do not receive lucrative paychecks like athletes in mainstream professional sports. So hopefully this will make people appreciate just how hard Olympians work, often just for the love of the sport.”