Lolo Jones

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Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones at the 2008 Drake Relays
Personal information
Born(1982-08-05) August 5, 1982 (age 30)
Des Moines, Iowa[1]
ResidenceBaton Rouge, Louisiana
Height5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m)[2]
Weight140 pounds (64 kg)[2]
SportTrack & Field
Event(s)100 m hurdles
College teamLSU Tigers
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

11.24 (Stuttgart 2006)
100m hurdles

12.43 (2008 Olympic Games)
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Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones at the 2008 Drake Relays
Personal information
Born(1982-08-05) August 5, 1982 (age 30)
Des Moines, Iowa[1]
ResidenceBaton Rouge, Louisiana
Height5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m)[2]
Weight140 pounds (64 kg)[2]
SportTrack & Field
Event(s)100 m hurdles
College teamLSU Tigers
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

11.24 (Stuttgart 2006)
100m hurdles

12.43 (2008 Olympic Games)

Lori Jones, more commonly known as Lolo Jones,[1][3] (born August 5, 1982) 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 m hurdles, with gold medals at the World Indoor Championship in 2008 and 2010.

She was favored to win the 100 m 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 60m hurdles with a time of 7.72.[4]


Early years and high school career

Jones was born on August 5, 1982. She attended eight schools in eight years while her single mother, Lori, often held down two jobs to support her family of six. Jones' father spent most of her childhood in the Air Force and later in state prison. When Jones was in third grade, her family settled in the basement of a Des Moines Salvation Army 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.[5]

When her family was about to make another move, 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."[5] Jones and her family parted ways, and her mentor, Coach Ferguson, arranged for her to live with four different families during her enrollment at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines.[6] One of those who took Jones in was Janis Caldwell, who had seen Jones compete at Roosevelt.[7] Jones stayed with the Caldwells after her senior year at Roosevelt, while she attended college, trained and worked part-time at the Iowa Bakery Cafe, a local coffee shop.

During her junior and senior years, she lived with the family of medical writing consultant Marilyn K. Hauk, MPH, and her husband at the time, former Des Moines Register assistant managing editor Randy Essex. Hauk and Essex already knew Jones through the Des Moines Area Youth Track Club. Knowing that she showed such tremendous promise, they asked Des Moines Youth Coach Phil Ferguson if they could help. They became part of a community that nurtured her, which included teachers at Roosevelt High School who made sure that she put together the right classes to be ready for college, a Des Moines orthodontist who reduced the cost of her braces and a Des Moines attorney who handled paperwork pro bono to assure she was covered by health insurance. Jean and Kim Walker and later Janice Caldwell also welcomed her into their homes. Jones went on to receive college degrees in economics and Spanish.[8] [9]

At Roosevelt, she excelled in the classroom, keeping her grades up and playing the cello in the school orchestra.[7] She 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.

Collegiate career

Jones originally intended to enroll at Iowa State University through its Upward Bound/Science Bound program. Instead, she followed the lead of elite hurdler Kim Carson, who was her role model and Caldwell's goddaughter. Carson was an All-American and national champion at Louisiana State University. Like Carson, Jones competed on LSU's track team.

In 2002, she was runner-up in both 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2003, Jones won the 60-meter Hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She was later part of the winning 4x100-meter team at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In the 2004 indoor campaign, she finished second at the NCAA Championships in both the 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash. In her 2004 outdoor season, she won the 100-meter Hurdles title at the NCAA Mideast Region Championships, the SEC Championships, and the Penn Relays. At the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships, she won another national title as a member of the winning 4x100-meter team. Her terrific career at LSU saw her finish as an 11-time All-American and a 6-time SEC champion, and she is ranked among the top-three women for all-time in both the 60-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles.

After failing to qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Jones found herself contemplating her future. When Jones told Shaver she wanted to retire from track, he replied, "I'll see you at practice tomorrow."[7] Despite any second thoughts, Jones' heart led her back to running. Jones' financial situation also was still a concern, forcing her to choose between focusing on track and not earning a steady paycheck, or using her economics degree to get a regular job. To save money, Lolo would leave the air conditioner off, which meant suffering through the hot Louisiana summer days. She also held several different part-time jobs after college, such as working at Home Depot, waiting tables, and a personal trainer at a gym. The part-time jobs helped her earn extra money and provided the flexibility to leave the country for competitions.[5]

Professional career

2004-2008: Early professional career

After a disappointing finish at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Outdoor Trials, Jones finished second in her first professional meet at Stuttgart. She had a stellar 2006 campaign, which saw her win at Heusden-Zolder in July, running a personal best time of 12.56. At the 2006 World Athletics Final, she finished sixth in the 100 m hurdles and fifth in the 100 m. She also did well on the European circuit, winning the meet in Ostrava. She finished the 2006 season ranked fourth in the U.S. and seventh in the world by Track & Field News.

Jones won her first national championship in 2007, winning the 60 m hurdles at the USA Indoor Championships with a time of 7.88 seconds. In the European winter circuit, Jones won two meets and finished second in two others in the 60 m hurdles. In April, she won the 100 meter hurdles at the Drake Relays. At the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Jones finished third in the 100 m hurdles, thereby earning a spot on the U.S. Team at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, where she finished 6th. On the summer track circuit, Jones won meets at Rethimno and Heusden along with second-place finishes at Doha, Sheffield, and Monaco.

Jones at the 2008 Bislett Games

2008–09: Major championship frustration

Jones started the 2008 season with hopes of making the 2008 Summer Olympics. She began the indoor campaign with second place finishes in Glasgow, Gothenburg, and Stuttgart in the 60 m hurdles. She then picked up a win in Düsseldorf, setting a meet-record in the process. In Karlsruhe, Jones ran a personal best time of 7.77 seconds and finished second to Susanna Kallur, who broke the world record with a time of 7.68 seconds. Jones' time was the second-fastest ever by an American. She was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week on February 12 for her performance in Karlsruhe. At the 2008 USA Indoor Championships, Jones won her second straight national championship with a time of 7.88 seconds and also won the Visa Championship Series title for the 2008 indoor season. At the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain, Jones won the 60 m hurdles with a time of 7.80 for her first world championship.

Jones opened the 2008 outdoor season with a first place finish at the LSU Alumni Gold meet in Baton Rouge, setting a stadium record in the process.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lolo was favored to win the 100 meter hurdles. In the final, she was pulling away from the pack when she clipped the 9th hurdle (of 10) and stumbled, breaking stride to drop her back to a disappointing 7th-place finish. Teammate Dawn Harper surged through to win gold. Lolo Jones was seen pounding the ground close to tears, trying to comprehend what had happened. "You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race. It's just a shame that it happened on the biggest race of my life."[10] 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. According to the SEC (Southeastern Conference; LSU is a member of the conference) documentary about her life (and her personal telling of the story during it), the "clipping" of the ninth hurdle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was attributed to a spinal problem. The doctor who treated her tells the audience that the problem was so bad that he'd examine her feet and ask which toe of which foot he was touching and she told him that she couldn't feel anything. The doctor said that the problem was that, since she couldn't feel her feet, her brain wasn't able to process where they were, leading to the "clipping" in the medal race in Beijing. Also according to the documentary, the doctor operated on Jones to repair the problem and the operation was a success.

She began the 2009 indoor season in Europe, scoring victories in the 60 m hurdles with world-leading times of 7.82 seconds in Karlsruhe and Birmingham, England.[11] She returned to the States and won the national indoor title in the 60 m hurdles. A hamstring injury at her hometown meet, the Drake Relays, caused her to miss a month's worth of training but she returned in time for the outdoor national championships.[12] She did not repeat her indoor success, however, as she clashed arms with Michelle Perry in the semi-finals and fell, missing out on the opportunity to compete at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.[13] Vowing to salvage her season, she returned to Europe to compete on the major World Athletics Tour meets, but she only managed seventh and eighth in Oslo and Lausanne.[14] She returned to form in Rethymno, Greece, beating Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Damu Cherry with a world-leading time of 12.47 seconds.[15]

She faced strong competition on the European circuit: Jones took third at the London Grand Prix behind Sally McLellan and Perdita Felicien,[16] and a run of 12.61 seconds was only enough for third again at Herculis.[17] She ran her second fastest time of the season (12.51) at the DN Galan meeting, but she was just beaten to the line by Lopes-Schliep.[18] Her hamstring injury recurred at Weltklasse Zürich, ruling her out for the rest of the season. Having missed the major championships and suffered injuries, the 2009 season was largely disappointing for Jones, although she took some solace from having run the second fastest time that season.[19]

2010 and 2011 seasons

Lolo Jones defended her 60m hurdles Indoor World Title in Doha after finishing with a time of 7.72 (a new American record). Due to there being no major championships for Americans, Lolo then traveled to Europe and competed in many countries, mainly Diamond League events. After wins in Doha, Oslo, New York, Gateshead, and Monaco, going into the last Diamond League race, Lolo was tied at the top of the standings along side Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. Lopes-Schliep won the final race which left Lolo second in the overall Diamond league standings.

Jones made her 2011 race debut at Aviva International Match, Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Jones finished the race in fourth position with a time of 8.27 after hitting the third hurdle. A close third place finish then followed in Stuggart, with Jones finishing in 7.94 behind winner Carolin Nytra (7.92) and Christina Vukicevic (7.93). Injury and illness forced Jones to miss the rest of the indoor season.

2012 Olympics

On June 23, 2012, Lolo Jones placed third in the 100m hurdles at the U.S. Olympics trials, qualifying her for a spot on the 2012 Summer Olympics team.[20]

At the London Olympics, on August 6, 2012, Jones won her heat in the 100 meter hurdles in a time of 12.68 s. On August 7, 2012 she placed third in the semifinals of the 100 meter hurdles, gaining progression to the finals. In the finals later that day Jones ended fourth with a time of 12.58 s.[21]

Personal life

Lolo was named Lori at birth, after her mother, but started going by "Lolo", she says, in order to differentiate the two when telephone callers asking for "Lori" made the matter confusing. Though according to Lolo's mother, "Lolo" is what she has called her daughter from birth.[1]

A 2005 graduate of Louisiana State University, she currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is sponsored by Asics and Oakley. She is an American of Native American, African, French and Norwegian descent.[1] She is a devout Christian, and often prays before competitions, and talks about her faith on Twitter.[22][23]

In a 2012 segment on HBO's Real Sports, Jones revealed that she is a virgin, dates online, and struggles to maintain her virginity.[24] She said “If there’s virgins out there, I’m going to let them know, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life—harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college, has been to stay a virgin before marriage.”[25][26]

Charitable contributions to Iowa

While visiting Des Moines for the Drake Relays, she made a surprise visit to her alma mater, Roosevelt High School, to deliver a pair of new Asics running shoes for each member of the school's track team. She also delivered a $3,000 check to buy indoor practice hurdles and for improvements to repair the school's track surface.[27]

In July 2008, while back in Des Moines for a send-off ceremony before the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jones donated the $4,000 prize from winning the 100-meter hurdles at the Olympic trials to Renee Trout, a single mother from Cedar Rapids, Iowa who was hit by the Iowa flood of 2008. Asics and Oakley each matched Jones' $4,000 prize, bringing the total donation to $12,000.[28] After the sendoff ceremony, Jones flew with Trout to Cedar Rapids aboard a private jet provided by the Iowa Farm Bureau to tour the neighborhoods affected by the flood, including Trout's.[29]

In popular culture

In October 2009, Jones posed semi-nude for ESPN the Magazine. In 2012 she appeared on the cover of Outside magazine seeming to wear a bathing suit made of strategically placed ribbon.[30]

Jones appeared as a guest on the June 25, 2012 episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[31]


On August 4, 2012 Jones came under heavy criticism from Jere Longman of the New York Times who maintained that "This [media attention paid to her] was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign".[32] Janice Forsyth, director at The University of Western Ontario, compared her as the Olympics’ equivalent to tennis’ Anna Kournikova[32]—who had never won a WTA Tour singles tournament, but became well-known after appearing in numerous photoshoots and product advertising images because of her looks.

Jones reacted to these attacks by saying it was deplorable and that they should be supporting the U.S. Olympic athletes but instead they just "ripped me to shreds". Jones also stated the NYT did not do its research properly as unlike Kournikova, she had won titles, including two world indoor titles and the American record indoors.[33]


Personal bests

EventTime (seconds)VenueDate
55 meters hurdles7.57Gainesville, Florida, United StatesMarch 2, 2003
60 meters hurdles7.72Doha, QatarMarch 13, 2010
100 meters hurdles12.43Beijing, ChinaAugust 18, 2008
60 meters7.29Fayetteville, Arkansas, United StatesMarch 14, 2003
100 meters11.24Stuttgart, GermanySeptember 10, 2006

Competition record

2006World Athletics FinalStuttgart, Germany5th100 m dash
6th100 m hurdles
2007World ChampionshipsOsaka, Japan6th100 m hurdles
2008World Indoor ChampionshipsValencia, Spain1st60 m hurdles
Olympic GamesBeijing, China7th100 m hurdles
World Athletics FinalStuttgart, Germany2nd100 m hurdles
2010World Indoor ChampionshipsDoha, Qatar1st60 m hurdles
2012Olympic GamesLondon, United Kingdom4th100 m hurdles


  1. ^ a b c d MSN (2008). "Athletes > Lolo Jones > Bio". NBC Beijing Olympics 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-08-24. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ John Powers (2008-02-23). "Jones has made a name for herself". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  4. ^ 60 Metres Hurdles All Time. IAAF (2009-02-15). Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  5. ^ a b c "Life's hurdles made Lolo Jones strong". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2008-08-20. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Lolo Jones Overcomes Hurdles To Contend For Olympic Gold". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  7. ^ a b c Hersh, Philip (2008-08-13). "U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones has cleared plenty of obstacles". Chicago Tribune.,0,1495001.story. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  8. ^ "Lolo Jones – From homeless to Olympian". Salon Media Group, Inc.. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "You are here: Home / Human Interest / Many Iowans helped Lolo Jones get to Beijing Many Iowans helped Lolo Jones get to Beijing". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Harper grabs gold after teammate Jones hits penultimate hurdle". ESPN. Associated Press. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  11. ^ Lolo on Stuttgart's DNF – I made a sprinter's start rather than a hurdler's start – IAAF Online Diaries. IAAF (2009-02-24). Retrieved on 2009-07-22).
  12. ^ Lolo looking forward to being back on track – IAAF Online Diaries. IAAF (2009-05-22). Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  13. ^ Jones crashes out of 100m hurdles at US world trials. Times of India (2009-06-29). Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  14. ^ Lolo Jones – "for me it is about climbing all the way back to the top" – IAAF Online Diaries. IAAF (2009-07-13). Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  15. ^ Nikitaridis, Michalis (2009-07-21). Ferguson (22.32) and Jones (12.47) set world season leads in Rethymno. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
  16. ^ Brown, Matthew (2009-07-25). Bolt and Gay highlight; Demus and Dibaba world leads in London, Day 2 – IAAF World Athletics Tour. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  17. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-07-28). Hurdlers delight on a spectacular evening in Monaco – IAAF World Athletics Tour. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  18. ^ Nesi, Lorenzo (2009-07-31). Felix dashes to 21.88 World lead, Gay dominates with 9.79w in Stockholm – IAAF World Athletics Tour. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  19. ^ Jones, Lolo (2009-10-06). After reporter's experience Lolo poses naked and looks forward to IAAF Diamond League – IAAF Online Diaries. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Jeff Duncan (2008). "Hard work got Lolo Jones into Olympics". The Times Picayune. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  23. ^ Menzie, Nicola. "Christian Olympians Give God the Praise at London Summer Games". The Christian Post. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  24. ^ STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN (2012-05-22). "Olympian Lolo Jones: Being a Virgin Hinders Finding a Boyfriend". People Magazine.,,20597570,00.html. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  25. ^ Bryce Miller (2012-05-22). "Track star details struggle to ‘stay a virgin’". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  26. ^ "Hurdler Lolo Jones: Virginity has been harder than training for London Olympics". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  27. ^ Iowa Public Television (2008). "Olympic Iowans (Feature)". Iowa Public Television. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  28. ^ Sean Keeler (2008). "Keeler: Iowa athletes, flood victim get big lifts at a go-get-'em salute". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2008-08-20. [dead link]
  29. ^ Rob Matherly (2008). "Not quite the same thing". The Last Link. Retrieved 2008-08-20. [dead link]
  30. ^ H. Darr Beiser (2009-10-06). "Hurdler Jones debated ESPN's 'Body Issue' photo shoot". USATODAY. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  31. ^ "Behind The Scenes At The Tonight Show: Lolo Jones". NBC. 
  32. ^ a b Longman, Jeré (5 August 2012). "INSIDE THE RINGS; For Lolo Jones, Everything Is Image". The New York Times: p. 1. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  33. ^ Tearful Lolo Jones: Media 'ripped me to shreds' before race
  34. ^ "Jones, Lolo biography". IAAF. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 

External links