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London Olympics 2012

Lolo Jones

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Lori Jones, more commonly known as Lolo Jones, born August 5, 1982 in Des Moines, Iowa is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles. She won three NCAA titles and garnered 11 All-American honors while at LSU. She won indoor national titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the 60 meter hurdles, with gold medals at the World Indoor Championship in 2008 and 2010. She was favored to win the 100 meter hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but she tripped on the penultimate hurdle, finishing in seventh place. She went on to win silver at the 2008 World Athletics Final. Jones is the American record holder in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.72. Jones is an expert at overcoming hurdles—both on the track and in life having risen from poverty and homelessness into world stardom, including a spot on the USA Olympic Track and Field team and celebrity status.

Lolo Jones began chasing her dream in high school. After years of living in poverty and an unstable home life she was determined to be the first in her family to go to college. Constantly looking to improve, Lolo earned a scholarship from the famed Louisiana State University Track and Field program and fought to become the best, among the best. With the help of coach Dennis Shaver, Lolo became one of the most dominant athletes in the history of the LSU Women’s Track and Field dynasty, winning three NCAA Titles and 11 All-American honors, most notably in the hurdles. After failing to qualifying for the 2004 Olympics, Lolo turned again to Shaver for inspiration to continue fighting for her dream. After four years of intense training, Lolo found herself right where she wanted to be—on the 2008 US Olympic team and favored to win gold in the 100 meter hurdles. But on the verge of reaching that dream, she suffered a heartbreaking stumble at the final hurdle, costing her the biggest race of her life. Still determined to win an Olympic gold medal, Lolo went through with a risky spinal surgery and another four years of training to prepare for what is now her next hurdle – making the 2012 Olympic team and winning gold this time.

In her youth, Lori "Lolo" Jones had a series of obstacles to overcome. 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 in the Air Force or, later, in state prison. In third grade, the Jones family settled in the basement of a Des Moines Salvation Army church. During the summer when day camps were offered at the church, Lolo would wake up early to avoid being teased by other kids if they found out she was living in the basement. When her family was about to make another move, this time to Forest City, Iowa, Lolo told her mother "Mom, I can't go to a city that doesn't have a track. I'm trying to pursue my dream."

Lolo and her family parted ways, and she 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 on 40th and University. During her junior and senior years, she lived with the family of Randy Essex, former Des Moines Register assistant managing editor, and with the family of Des Moines attorney Kim Walker. At Roosevelt, she excelled in the classroom, keeping her grades up and playing the cello in the school orchestra. Lolo, of course, also excelled on the track. She was named Gatorade Midwest Athlete of the Year and set a record at the Iowa state track meet with a mark of 13.40 seconds for the 100-meter hurdles.

Lolo’s mother, Lori Counter-Jones, said about being homeless: “You end up staying with family or friends. At one time we even stayed at the Salvation Army shelter because I was riding around in the car with all five of my kids with nowhere to go and they thought we were just going to the park and just taking a ride. because I didn’t tell them that we really didn’t have anywhere to go.”

Lolo on how she started running: “I was running with my dad because we didn’t have a car. As my mom would shift from place to place or dad would be in and out of my life, running was like the friend that never left. It was just always there. I’d say it was the only constant thing in my life.”

Lolo’s sister, Angelia Jefferson remembers after the Olympics: “She looked as if she did not just lose the biggest race of her life. I knew that she maybe had 30 minutes of sleep but she looked as if she was OK. But I knew in her heart that she was broken, that her heart was broken and the defeat that she felt and the failure that she felt. I was like, ‘Oh gosh, another knock’.”

Lolo on her outlook for the future: “I feel as if I have so much that is in me and I need to just finally close this chapter. I have gone through so many battles to get there. I’m focused I’m ready to do the work… Really making a conscious effort to focus on every detail to perfection.”

More about Lolo Jones at her website: www.runlolorun.com

source: www.wikipedia.org


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