Lolo will go to London Olympics despite 'meltdown'
After a devastating fall during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Lolo Jones earns a second chance at dreams of Olympic gold.
Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Lolo Jones celebrates after qualifying for the London Olympics after finishing third in the women's 100-meter hurdles final at the US Olympic Track and Field Team Trials on June 23. (Photo: Christian Petersen/AFP American Edition)
Lolo Jones, who suffered heartbreak in 2008 at Beijing, earned a second chance at Olympic gold after finishing third in the 100-meter hurdles final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Jones was leading in the 2008 Olympic final when she stumbled over the penultimate hurdle, dashing her gold medal dreams two hurdles too soon as fellow American Dawn Harper went on to capture the title.
"I'm just thrilled to have another shot," Jones said.
Harper won the chance to defend her title at the London Olympics by taking the final in 12.73 with Kellie Wells, who has the top U.S. time this year, second in 12.77 and Jones third in 12.86, edging Ginnie Crawford by .04 of a second.
"They said Lolo might be third and I said a little prayer and my name popped up and I fell down right there on the track," Jones said.
For Jones, whose biggest news in recent weeks was her declaration that she will remain a virgin until she is married, the effort capped a rough 24-hour span after a slow qualifying effort on June 22 that caused a "reality meltdown".
Suffering a crisis in confidence after a 13.01, Jones begged coach Dennis Shaver to tell her if she was truly out of shape and had no hope of an Olympic comeback.
"It was a constant battle in my head," Jones said. "'Stop lying to me. Do I look bad?' I was actually screaming. I actually threw a shoe. It was a nightmare.
"I'm glad I got it all over and I have a month to prepare for the Olympics."
Jones, who will turn 30 two days before her first London race on August 7, said that she had been "filled with a lot of doubt and fear this whole season."
"I didn't even think I would make the team," she said. "I'm thrilled I was able to overcome and make this team."
Jones, who won 60-meter hurdle world indoor titles in 2008 and 2010, underwent spinal surgery a year ago after nagging injuries were traced to her back. That helped change her fortunes and build some confidence.
"I'm proud I fought so hard," she said. "There were times I wanted to quit because I didn't think I would get it done in time. I'm still a little shocked."
For Harper, whose gold-medal achievement felt a bit lost in the wake of extra attention for the media darling Jones, there was a sense that she would now find the respect she felt never came when she grabbed gold after Jones stumbled four years ago.
"I never did get the recognition I would think you would get as an Olympic champion," Harper said. "If you put yourself out there, time and time again, you will get the recognition."
Copyright 2012 AFP American Edition