It’s no secret that olympian Lolo Jones did *not* have a good time on The Challenge. Her fellow challengers couldn’t stand her and she couldn’t stand the show.
But longtime host TJ Lavin, as well as numerous competitors, have called her bluff and insist that producers didn’t “force” her to do anything. According to TJ, he thinks she just wasn’t accustomed to losing (because she was losing really badly at that point).
“Lolo being such a high-level athlete, it’s probably really hard for her to lose.”
“The Challenge is different. It’s different. Any NBA player, any baseball player, wouldn’t last a week. BMX dudes, MMA fighters. No one. It doesn’t matter how good of shape you’re in or how amazing of an athlete. It has to do with agility, balance, and all the mental and strategic games they have to play. Some people are made for that, and some people aren’t.”
TJ added that, unlike other reality shows, The Challenge isn’t fixed. It’s something he’s reiterated for years. He said,
“There’s no such thing as being fixed or us changing rules or anything like that at all, ever. We’ve never done it, nor will we start doing it. We would never make somebody win just to make a show. Ever.”
TJ isn’t the only one who has claimed that Lolo is lying about being forced to quit. Numerous competitors have also been vocal about the issue, claiming that Lolo’s allegations are false.
Fellow competitor Devin Walker told the podcast Challenge Mania,
“She’s lying. It didn’t happen the way she says it’s happening. … There should be no space for [the lies] because it belittles everything that so many people have built and passed on.”
The Challenge: All Stars cast member Trishelle Cantennella also weighed in and tweeted,
“LoLo. Stop blaming production for you losing. As a professional athlete you have a p*ss poor attitude.”
In the context of the show — at least what was aired — Lolo’s exit seems to make sense. She entered the show confident that she would be one of the top competitors but soon learned just the opposite. She and her partner Nam Vo didn’t win a single challenge and struggled to work together. The aired footage showed Lolo constantly frustrated, taking out her anger on Nam. Needless to say, Lolo didn’t come across well.
And with her recent allegations, she simply comes across as a sore loser.
As for her castmates, it’s certainly understandable why they would be angry at her for bashing and undermining the show. While newbies often join the cast for screen-time, most of the challengers take the competition *extremely* seriously and spend months training and strategizing.
For many of the competitors, they turn the show into a career, coming on season after season. And even if they don’t win the grand prize, they still get paid big bucks for their appearance. Veterans like CT Tamburello reportedly earn up to $80,000 just for coming on the show. Other contestants may earn something like $3,000-$5,000 per episode.
Needless to say, Lolo Jones most likely won’t be returning to the franchise anytime soon.
But luckily for viewers, they are plenty of other incredible athletes on the show. Because anyone who’s witnessed a final on The Challenge knows it takes some serious skills to win the big bucks.
The Challenge: Double Agents airs on MTV and The Challenge: All Stars streams on Paramount+.