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 argued 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.” “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.’”
Jones made these comments after the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, drew in 16.7 million viewers for NBC on Friday. 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.
NBC HAS 33-YEAR LOW VIEWERSHIP FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONY: ‘NOT A HAPPY’ BENCHMARK
“The time zone difference is incredible. You’re dealing with 13, 14 hours, so most of the events are finished by the time we wake up in America,” Jones told co-host Sandra Smith. “I think that took a lot of the…fun out of it.”
She also mentioned the lack of fans in the stadiums may also be another reason why ratings are low this year, in addition to famous athletes such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt both retiring.
“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 added. “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.”
The Olympian is no stranger to the worldwide event and shares her experiences in her new inspirational book “Over It: How to Face Life’s Hurdles with Grit, Hustle, and Grace.”
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“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.”
Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report.