NYP – She was one of the faces of Coca-Cola’s international ad campaign, was featured on billboards all over Brazil and even appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit daily.
BarStoolSports But then the actual competition started, and Jenneke’s well-crafted image started to crack. Failing to even get out of the heats in the 100-meter hurdles, Jenneke finished in a hugely disappointing 37th place, and Athletics Australia — the governing body for all of Australia’s sports, including their Olympic committee — announced this week they had completely cut her funding.
Instead, 62 other able-bodied athletes will receive funds from Athletics Australia’s National Athlete Support Structure after it was determined that they had a better chance of performing well at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Expectations were high as she stepped onto the track in Rio. After performing her signature dance for the cameras, Jenneke posted a terrible time of 13.26 seconds, didn’t qualify for the finals and then blamed a mysterious injury for her poor performance.
Australia’s head coach Craig Hilliard had a much different take on Jenneke’s failure.
Citing her modeling and advertising gigs, Hilliard told the Sydney Morning Herald after the race, “It’s something that I need to discuss with her and go through with her, with her program. She certainly didn’t arrive here in the shape she should have arrived in.”
Noting she was an Athletics Australia-funded athlete, Hilliard harped on Jenneke’s apparent lack of focus: “It comes to the end of the day, and well, it’s not a priority, it’s about balance. If it’s not a priority, then why are we funding athletes?”
Downer news here that I think went under the radar in the Olympics. Maybe it’s just my internet nostalgia but I would have loved Michelle Jenneke to have a great Olympic run and get a little more famous, maybe a Dancing With The Stars appearance or something. But now it seems like she’s just about washed up as a professional athlete. It stinks because with something like track you just can’t hide the flaws and keep things profitable like you can in other sports (looking side eyed at you Anna Kournikova and Danica Patrick). She either had to perform or she was going to fail and it looks like she checked in heavily on the fail side. I don’t know enough about the various inner workings of funding an Olympic run but one would assume she either needs a lot of sponsor money to keep her afloat and coach her up or else she’s just wasting time. Sad waste of such sexy and very viral talent.