Winter Olympics 2014: Lolo Jones Will be a Critical Member of U.S. Bobsled Team

By Vinny Gala
Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering tremendous disappointment at her last two Summer Olympics, Lolo Jones has set out to make the US Women’s Bobsled team for this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. A few days ago, this article was penned to outline some of the various reasons why Lolo Jones would not enjoy success as a member of the United States Women’s Bobsled Team. This article, however, outlines the reasons why Jones will enjoy success.

Track Experience and Raw Athleticism

Lolo Jones isn’t an unknown athlete trying to walk onto the bobsledding team; she is a two-time Olympian sprinter. Being a sprinter, those skills should correlate quite nicely to the pusher position that she is trying to fill, only lacking some sport-specific training and education.  She certainly can (and already has) adapt her training and conditioning program to make it suit bobsledding needs, so the only thing standing in her way is the knowledge that comes with bobsledding (i.e. when to stop pushing and when to hop in and hold on). Luckily for her, these are things that can be taught and learned, unlike raw athleticism and talent.

Work Ethic

Some of her own potential teammates have commented on how solid her work ethic is and how much time, energy, and devotion she puts into it. These teammates are the same ones she is competing with to earn one of the three spots available, so that alone should be enough to illustrate the positive effect she is having on her team.

If Jones is not fortunate enough to earn a spot on the Olympic team, she should rest easy knowing that all of her hard work and energy was not in vain. It pushed the other members of that team to be better, to work that much harder to better themselves, and she should be proud of that.

That Stupid Chip

The same chip has been on her shoulder since the Olympics in Beijing and London.  The same one that has prevented her from realizing her Olympic dream of winning a medal.  She isn’t going to want to wait until the next Summer Olympics to acquire a medal. If given the chance, this is where she is going to do it — in Sochi.

There is something to be said about the way the Olympic Games are structured, only occurring every four years, and what it does to an athlete who didn’t achieve what he/she thought they should. When Jones clipped that hurdle on her way to a certain gold medal, the thoughts she must have had about having to wait another four years for another chance at realizing her dream had to be the absolute worst feeling of her life. The motivation this failure must generate is staggering, and she will use it to her benefit.

Prior Olympic Experience

Say what you want about Lolo Jones being an unsuccessful and overrated Olympian.  It may very well be true, but it doesn’t matter here. She’s an Olympian, plain and simple. It’s not her first rodeo, having competed on the world’s biggest stage twice before, which can allow her to channel her prior Olympic experiences to become an asset for some of the less experienced (but potentially more qualified) teammates. This is one area in which Jones can create a positive from her negative experience that will help her and her teammates prepare for the upcoming attention that they will be receiving.

Prior Success

This entire experience isn’t something that Lolo Jones has taken lightly. She’s devoted upwards of two years to pursuing this dream, training with the team, and ultimately earning a spot on the World Cup circuit. She’s competed in a handful of events to date, enjoying success twice, including a silver medal most recently at an event in Germany.

She’s already proven that she can compete with the best, albeit on a much smaller stage, but what else can she do to prove her capabilities at this point?  Unfortunately for Jones, the decision isn’t up to her.  She’s done her part to make her case and the only thing she can do at this point is wait.  She won’t have to wait for long, as the members of the Olympic team will be formally announced on January 19, 2014.

Vinny Gala is a contributor for  Follow him on Twitter @VinnyGala.

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