By Allison Summers
How hard is it to master one sport and go to the Olympics for it? The answer to that question is very hard. Female athletes have a one in nine thousand chance of becoming an Olympic track star; for basketball, you have a one in forty-five thousand chance. Knowing how difficult it is to achieve such a feat, you can recognize the athleticism of Lolo Jones. She’s not only a Summer Olympian for track, but a Winter Olympian for bobsledding as well. This amazing achievement only few have accomplished across the globe.
Lori “Lolo” Jones, born August 5, 1982, is an American track star that specializes in the sixty and one hundred meter hurdles, as well as team bobsledding. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, she attended eight schools in eight years. She had a rough childhood as a sibling of six, with her single mother, Lori, being the only caretaker. Her father, who had served in the Air Force, was stuck in State Prison for much of his life, and her mother had to often work two jobs to support everyone. In High School, Lolo did something most kids wouldn’t have the guts or dedication to do – she parted ways with her family to pursue her track career at Theodore Roosevelt High (TRH). With the help of her mentor, Coach Ferguson, she was arranged to live with several families during her time at TRH. Her outstanding athletic ability in high school carried over to the next and biggest part of her life.
Originally going to Iowa State University, she ended up transferring to Louisiana State University to follow her All-American, National Champ role model, Kim Carson’s footsteps. She started off her prosperous career at LSU in 2003 when Jones won the 60 meter hurdles at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor Championship. In 2004 during the outdoor season, she won the 100 meter hurdles at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship. Out of college she was favored to win the 2008 Beijing Olympic event, the one hundred meter hurdles, but tripped on the penultimate hurdle. Lolo still continued with great success outside of the Olympics in the meantime.
Lolo was not promised the same thriving career in Bobsledding. After the 2003 Olympics where she didn’t medal, she became dedicated to bobsledding and gained weight. In 2012, Jones was named to the U.S bobsledding team. She was one of three track and field Olympians invited to the U.S women’s bobsled championship by Coach Todd Hayes. Lolo and teammate Jazmine Fenlator later placed second in the World Cup bobsledding competition on November 9, 2012. After Jones won Gold on January 27, 2003 at the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) World Championship, she was selected for the U.S Bobsled team competing at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. There the team placed Eleventh, three point three five seconds behind the gold winning Canada.
Lolo’s dedication, ability, and overall athleticism have helped her achieve something done by few. “She is a good role model. She trains, competed then succeeds.” States Junior Haley Lofton, who has looked up to and used Lolo Jones as inspiration for track. Another junior, Nicki Fisher, shares a similar opinion of Lolo: “Lolo Jones athletic ability is worthy of being a role model because of her hard work and incredible athletic ability.” Nicki also talks about setting goals to be like Lolo in the future. Sophomore, Alex Capalbo, only knew Lolo was a quote “Olympic runner,” but was impressed when told about Lolo’s mastering of two different sports. Alex agreed and said Lolo Jones is a great role model based on her athletic merit. Overall, this summer and winter Olympian has inspired and convinced many young girls to be like her and dedicate themselves to what they love – to channel that drive and passion a true champion has inside.