Once Jones was picked to the team, conspiracy theories started coming out. NBC played a role, some said. Others felt the U.S. Olympic Committee hoped to capitalize on Jones' popularity. (For the record, American officials not just deny, but laugh at those notions.) Azevedo was quoted as saying Jones' Twitter followers — 377,293 of them as of Monday morning — helped make her a more attractive candidate to the selection committee.
Jones expected some naysayers to question her being selected. She didn't expect how big the storm would be after the pick was revealed.
"This is a sequel," Jones said, drawing a parallel between this and how some track teammates complained that her popularity soared without winning a medal in Beijing or London. "I just wasn't prepared for it. ... I definitely didn't feel it coming this time, but it's hard when you don't make a team. I think sometimes people forget that."
She seems perfectly content now. Jones and fellow first-time Olympic push athlete Lauryn Williams, another Summer Games veteran who won a silver medal in the 100-meter dash in 2004 and helped the U.S. win gold in the 4x100-meter relay in London, will become the ninth and 10th Americans to compete in both the summer and winter versions of the games.
"I've gotten to see her over the last six months, see how hard she's working toward this and she won't be outworked by anyone," Williams said. "She put in every effort and she's as deserving as everyone on this team. It was really tough to see the hurt on all sides, and without picking sides. What they did wasn't right, but at the same time, you know it was from a place of deep hurt."
On Monday, Jones was doing more laughing and smiling than crying.