2012 Summer Olympics Spotlight Series: Lolo Jones

By Marian Hinton

With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games less than one month away, Rant Sports is shining the spotlight on some of the amazing athletes who will be representing the United States of America in London.

Today, we feature American track and field athlete, Lolo Jones, and her quest for redemption.

One of the most heartbreaking moments in US Olympic history occurred in Beijing 2008 when American hurdler Lolo Jones, who had just pulled ahead in her race, clipped the 9th hurdle, and fell to the ground.

The heavy favorite to win the gold medal would have to settle for 7th place. The world watched as she lay on the ground, crying out, “Why? Why? Why?”

But Lolo Jones didn’t quit. She’s back, and ready to show the world that she will fight once again for the elusive Olympic gold.

Jones knows what it takes to persevere; she’s done it her whole life.

Raised by a single mom who worked two jobs while trying to raise six children, growing up wasn’t easy for Lolo. With her father in and out of prison and her mother trying to take care of her family, Jones and her siblings would often have to resort to shoplifting food simply to survive.

She never had a place to call home. By third grade, her family had moved into the basement of the Des Moines Salvation Army Church. She attended eight different schools in eight years. One day, she told her mother that she wanted to go somewhere where she could run track and pursue her dreams.

Sadly, that would be the time that she and her family would part ways.

While attending high school at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Jones lived with four different families during her four years of school. During that time, she excelled in the classroom, in the orchestra where she played the cello, and most of all, on the track.

Eventually, her running prowess would land her a track and field scholarship to Louisiana State University. While in Baton Rouge, Jones won 3 NCAA titles and garnered 11 All-American honors.

But after failing to qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Jones contemplated giving up track.

But yet again, she persevered.

She would go on to win her first gold medal at the 2008 World Indoor Championships, and later that year, she would head to Beijing.

After she clipped the hurdle and lost out on Olympic gold, Lolo soon found out that she was suffering from a tethered spine. A doctor discovered that she had no feeling in some of her toes, which obviously affected her ability to jump hurdles. He operated on her spine, and a year later, Lolo was back on the track defending her World Indoor Title in 2010.

During the Olympic Trials earlier this month, Jones finished 3rd in the 100 m hurdles, qualifying her for a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

So, again, the eyes of the world will be watching Lolo Jones as she once again tries to capture the gold. Only this time, she’s not just running for a medal. She’s running for redemption.


Join us tomorrow as we shine the spotlight on another member of Team USA 2012

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