Lolo Jones poses in a shoot for the Sochi Olympic games. This is Jones' first time at the Winter Olympics. PHOTO: Reuters
Laurie "Lolo" Jones was once a favorite to take home Olympic gold as a sprinter. Now, at 31, with her chances at running for glory growing fewer, she is going to the Winter Olympics for the first time: as a bobsledder.
Lolo Jones seemed like a lock to strike gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and she was seconds from making that happen in the 100m hurdles. In the lead, and starting to pull away from her closest competitor, Jones stumbled on the second to last hurdle and finished in seventh place.
“I was devastated. I was crushed,” said Jones, who began crying on the track the moment the race was over.
In the London Olympics of 2012, Jones came within a tenth of a second of scoring a medal, but finished in fourth.
Jones got the last spot on the bobsled team, and some have wondered if her celebrity had anything to do with her selection. U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele deflected the criticism:
"This is an emotional situation," Steele said. "She brings a lot of baggage with her. I don't see that side of her. I kind of respect that she's not guarded. The reality is it's easy to look for an excuse, especially when it's close. I can see the logic when people don't understand the sport. I'm a little disappointed with some of the people inside the sport who make the same statements."
Will Lolo Jones quiet the critics and take home gold in her first Winter Olympics? Or will she fall short to more experienced competitors? We will know soon. The Sochi Olympics begin Feb. 6.