Lolo Jones is a Track & Field athlete competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Lolo Jones will look to return to the Olympics this summer in London where she figures to be a medal contender for the U.S. in the 100m hurdles. Jones, who famously stumbled short of what appeared to be a sure victory in Beijing, has battled persistent injury and disappointment over the last four years.

Jones kicked off her 2012 season as she normally does, with a fully-planned indoor campaign. Her first race back was at the U.S. Open in New York City, where she won the 50m hurdles in 6.78 seconds. After that, she traveled to Europe to begin getting race-sharp. She won the 60m hurdles in Lienz in 7.96 seconds, and three days later took the Moscow Winter meeting in 7.89 seconds. "I can go back to the months previous where I was crying my eyes out doing two and three workout sessions a day to get back to be normal Lolo, not even advancing myself," Jones said. "Right now, I feeling pure joy to be able to run again."

After bowing out of the USA Outdoor Championships, Jones decided to shut down her injury-plagued 2011 season and to seek medical answers to the sharp pains shooting up her leg to her armpit, pain that made every-day activities like driving in a car and walking down the street excruciating experiences. She got some answers late in the summer when doctors at the L.A. Spine and Disk Institute discovered that Jones had a tethered spinal cord, likely a birth defect. On July 27, she underwent surgery to release the base of her spinal cord. After a month of no activity, Jones began working her way back, first by walking for long intervals, then with three-a-day rehabilitation sessions.

For the second time in three years, Jones was unable to make it out of the semifinal round of the 100m hurdles at the USA Outdoor Championships in 2011. After two call-ups and a false start, Jones was unable to get out of the blocks quickly, essentially dooming her chances at the gun. She finished the race in 12.81 seconds, third best in the heat. The top two finishers in each of the three semifinals advanced automatically as did the next two fastest times. Jones had the third-fastest time remaining, ending her pursuit of a spot on the U.S. team for the World Championships in Daegu. "I'm speechless," Jones said afterward. "This whole year has been just crazy. I've been battling injuries, getting into races and getting last or fourth. It's just like, 'Gosh, when can I catch a break.'"

After two dark years of unimaginable disappointment compounded by frustrating injury, Lolo Jones found herself back on top, having sprinted to an emphatic victory in the 60m hurdles 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar. Jones became the first woman ever to repeat as champion in the hurdles. Her time of 7.72, the fifth fastest in history, shattered the American record of 7.74 set in 2003 by Gail Devers, and broke the meet record of 7.74 set in 2004 by Canada's Perdita Felicien. Afterward she said her focus was not on medals or times. "I didn't care about anything but making sure I didn't feel like crap walking off that track," Jones, who went to finish second in the 100m hurdles standings in the inaugural Diamond League, said. "I didn't want to be crying the whole flight home and have people be like, 'What's wrong with this girl?'"

If you follow Jones' Twitter feed, you know she talks a lot about her status as a single female, her dating misadventures, and that her social life consists of a lot of television. "My best friends know that I am basically a hermit," she said. "I stay in my house all of the time. Saturday nights I know the whole TV schedule. 'Saturday Night Live' is prime watching for me. I really don't get out that much. I'm not going to clubs. I don't have a 9-to-5 job where they go and have drinks on Thursday night. The only times you run into me are if you have to race against me, we're at the same track meet, or at church."

Unable to compete at the World Championships in Berlin, Jones did the next best thing - she took a gig with Eurosport doing television commentary during the meet. Although she preferred to be competing, obviously, she did thoroughly enjoy the experience. "It was amazing," she said. "At first I was really nervous to do it. I was worried that it was going to be so hard on me because I'm an athlete, not a reporter. I want to be running not asking questions, especially to the girls in my event. But after talking to my family I realized that I have gone through harder things than this. I love track and field and my coach said it would probably be better therapy if I was right there on the sidelines than if I was at home trying to not watch it on TV. It was the first time that it dawned on me that this might be something I want to do after track."

Jones returned from her 2009 injury layoff chomping at the bit at the USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene. With a berth to the World Championships in Berlin on the line, she only found more frustration however. In the semifinals of the 100m hurdles, she locked arms with Michelle Perry in the lane beside her and fell to the track.

Hoping to kick-start a season of redemption following Beijing's disappointment, Jones only met more struggles in her 2009 debut at the Drake Relays. Feeling the pressure to perform in front her hometown fans in Des Moines on a cold, damp day, Jones pulled up lame with an apparent leg injury. The next day, scans revealed that her right hamstring was torn in two locations. After a long rehabilitation process, Jones prepared for an early-summer return, but struggled more with the mental recovery than the physical. "It was like a Lifetime movie," she said. "I kept having images of the injury reoccurring in my mind as I sprinted."

In the moments after she finished seventh in the Beijing Olympic 100m hurdles final, Jones dropped to her knees and pounded the track nearly in tears, trying to comprehend what had happened. "You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race," she said. "It's just a shame that it happened on the biggest race of my life." Jones was later seen crying to herself in a hallway, mouthing,"Why, Why, Why?" The mistake has been compared numerous times to Gail Devers' famous fall in the same event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Jones continued her torrid running in the rounds at the Beijing Olympics. She was so impressive in the semifinals, which she won in a personal-best 12.43, that she was earmarked as everyone gold-medal favorite. In the final, Jones was pulling away from the field and appeared headed to certain victory when she clipped the ninth hurdle, stumbled, broke stride, and slipped back to seventh place. Relatively unheralded teammate Dawn Harper won gold, Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep won silver, and Australia's Sally Pearson won bronze.

Determined to make her first Olympic Team, Jones carried the momentum from her strong indoor season outdoors, where she was dominant from Day 1. At the Olympic Trials, she was smooth in winning her opening heat in 12.68 and her quarterfinal heat in 12.59. She continued to get faster, running 12.45 in the semifinals before clocking a wind-aided (3.8 m/s) 12.29 to win and punch her ticket to Beijing. The fast times continued to mount after the Trials. Jones won races in Barcelona (12.69), Stockholm (12.64) and London (12.58) before heading to the Games.

In 2008, Jones capped a stellar indoor season by winning her second straight U.S. Indoor Championship in the 60m hurdles. A strong finish over the final two hurdles earned her a winning time of 7.88 seconds as well as the Visa Series Championship and the accompanying $25,000 prize. Upon securing the Visa win, Jones broke out into a dance on the track at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.

After winning the 2007 U.S. Indoor title in the 60m hurdles, Jones made her first national team by finishing third in the 100m hurdles at the U.S. Outdoor Championships. She went on to qualify for the final and placed sixth at the World Championships in Osaka, running a time of 12.88.

After failing to qualify for the Olympic Team in 2004, Jones contemplated quitting the sport and putting her economics degree to good use. When she told Coach Dennis Shaver of her intentions, he told her, "I'll see you at practice tomorrow." Jones went back to running, but personal finances were still a great concern. To save money, she would leave the air conditioner off and suffered through the hot Louisiana summer. She also held several different part-time jobs after college, such as working at Home Depot, waiting tables, and a personal trainer. The part-time jobs helped her earn extra money and provided the flexibility to travel to meets.

Jones originally intended to enroll at Iowa State through its Upward Bound/Science Bound program. Instead, she followed the lead of elite hurdler Kim Carson, who was her role model, followed the All-American and national champion to Louisiana State University. Jones finished her career at LSU as a three-time national champion and 11-time All-American. She ranks among the top-three all-time at LSU in both the 60m and 100m hurdles. Jones also has an NCAA title as part of LSU's 4x100m relay in 2004.

At Roosevelt, Jones excelled in the classroom while also playing the cello in the school orchestra. Jones, who is of French, African-American, Native American and Norwegian descent, also excelled on the track. She was named Gatorade Midwest Athlete of the Year and holds the 100m hurdles record for the state of Iowa at 13.40 seconds.

When her family was about to make another move, this time to Forest City, Iowa, Jones told her mother "Mom, I can't go to a city that doesn't have a track. I'm trying to pursue my dream." The family parted ways, and Jones lived with four different families during her enrollment at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. One of those families that took Jones in was Janis Caldwell, who had seen Jones compete at Roosevelt. While Jones stayed with the Caldwells after her senior year at Roosevelt, they gave her free rent even though Jones worked part-time at the Iowa Bakery Cafe, a small coffee shop near her high school.

Jones attended eight schools in eight years while her single mother, Lori, often held down two jobs to support her family of six. Lolo's father spent most of her childhood either in the Air Force or jail. In third grade, the Jones family settled in the basement of a Des Moines church. During the summer when day camps were offered at the church, Jones would wake up early to avoid being teased by other kids if they found out she was living in the basement.




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Age: 34 years old
Birthday: August 5, 1982
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 150 lbs.
Birthplace: Des Moines, IA
Current Residence: Baton Rouge, LA


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