After Lolo Jones became the first contestant eliminated on this season of Dancing With the Stars, the three-time Olympic athlete told her Facebook fans the experience initially made her feel broken, unlovable and embarrassed.
“When you go so many times rejected in public you put walls up. When I was dancing last night and messed up I had flashbacks of the three Olympics and that people constantly tease me about,” Lolo said after she was sent home from the show.
The three-time NCAA champion hurdler was favored to win the 100-meter hurdles competition at the 2008 Olympics, but tripped on the ninth hurdle and ultimately finished seventh. She finished fourth in the same competition in 2012 and then turned her focus to training for a bobsledding event in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Her team placed 11th at the Sochi games.
Although she was unfortunately criticized for those performances, it seems Lolo put even more pressure on herself.
“I thought oh no here it comes again. People are going to ridicule me. I’m so tired of feeling embarrassed,” she said. “I joined the other competitors upstairs and I couldn’t force a smile on my face. I felt like vomiting and in between the other dances I went in a back room and fought back tears. I felt so broken. So unlovable. Embarssed.”
“I really wanted to stay on the show and have the layers of hurt wash away by showing the public how hard I work,” she continued. “I wanted to come away a victor for once. I wanted to do so good performing in public that the haters would stop teasing me.”
However, Lolo — a devout Christian — said she quickly realized that wasn’t how God wanted her to look at the situation.
“Instead I need to trust God that he would heal my heart. That I would not work so hard for the world to validate and redeem me but know that God already conquered that for me on the cross,” she said. “My time was brief but the lesson is lasting. Thank you everyone who wrote me kind messages. You were helping me not fall into darkness.”