Lolo Jones' Third Place Steals the Show in the Olympic Trials Hurdles Final

June 23, 2012

Olympic champion Dawn Harper won the women's 100m hurdle final at the Olympic Trials, two time World Champion Michelle Perry did not make the team, but sexual abuse survivor Kellie Wells did. However, the Hayward field crowd and most of the journalists were most interested in none of that, but rather the performance of Lolo Jones.

Jones, already one of the poster children of track and field in America, raised her public profile even further earlier this year when she declared on HBO Sports she was a virgin.

While the general America populace probably was anticipating its beautiful virgin hurdler descending upon London, track and field aficianados knew there was a serious problem -  Jones, who leading the 2008 Olympics before she clipped the last hurdler and sprawled to the track, was not hurdling very well in 2012.

That did not change on Day 1 of the hurdles on Friday when Jones ran over 13 seconds (13.01) and was the last qualifier in her heat to make Saturday's semifinal. For comparison's sake, Jones didn't run a single 13+ time in 2011 or 2012 burt the 13 in the first round here was her second of the year.

Forget about Lolo making the Olympics, there was a good chance she would not make the Olympic Trials final.

The transformation of Jones' hurdling overnight was pretty amazing.

In Saturday's semifinals, Jones improved to 12.75 and got second in her heat to make the final later in the day. Jones had gotten a lot better but she was still only the fifth fastest qualifier for the final and with only 3 Olympics spots available, Lolo had her hands full.

In the final, the field was running into a headwind. Dawn Harper edged Kellie Wells for the win but the crowd didn't care as seemingly everyone but parents and friends of Harper/Wells were intently watching Lolo Jones battle with Virginia Crawford for the final Olympic spot. Harper and Wells names went up 1 and 2 on the scoreboard and there wasn't much reaction from the crowd. After a wait, Lolo Jones' name went up into third. The crowd roared and Lolo fell to the track in ecstasy. She had overcome injury and poor form to make the team.

Lolo's "Reality Meltdown"
Lolo's transformation in one day was pretty amazing.

After her 13.01 on Friday, Lolo had what she described as a "reality meltdown." She went to her coach Dennis Shaver "actually screaming," threw a shoe at some point, and told coach Shaver, "I need you to stop lying to me. Do I look bad?"

Lolo focused more on just executing on Saturday and not popping up too soon and the results put her onto the US Olympic team. The travails of her season (surgery last year, two hamstring injuries this year) were behind her, even though she had doubts when she woke up Saturday. She said, "I've been fighting his whole season. I have not been running good. A lot of 12.9s, a lot of 13.0s. A lot of times losing.  I was filled with doubt and fear just this whole season. I woke up today and did not think I would make the team. I was fighting a constant head battle to get through this. I had my sports psychologist on speed dial 1, my pastor on speed dial 2, and my mom on speed dial 3....I'm just thrilled, thrilled to have another shot."

While Lolo and Dawn Harper are returning to the Olympics, Kellie Wells gets to go to her first Olympics and she was excited about it, "I get to go to the Olympics, THE Olympics." She pointed out that a lot of people think the Olympics is a 4 year struggle, but in reality it is a lifetime of work.

The Agony of Defeat for Virginia Powell Crawford: "It's Super Cut-Throat"
Virginia Crawford was fourth at USAs for the second straight year. She's still under contract, but realizes this could be the end of her career.

"Track and field is definitely a lot of pressure. I don't think a lot of people know how it works. Your livelihood is on the line every time you step out there. All that matters is 12 seconds and it's all you.  In a basketball game, I just watched Lebron James and the Miami Heat win, you're out there with the whole team, you get 7 tries. Here you get 3 rounds in 2 days and 12 seconds. It's super cut throat."

Parting Thought: We probably shouldn't point this out, but hey we have to be journalists right? We were actually stunned when we came up with this stat ourselves.

While there is no doubt that Jones' transformation overnight was pretty remarkable, she already had a similar transformation earlier this year. In Bislett on June 7th, Lolo ran 13.04 in the trials before coming back later the day and running 12.75 - the exact same time she ran in her semi tonigh.

1 Dawn Harper Nike 12.73       -1.6    0.173   
 2 Kellie Wells Nike 12.77       -1.6    0.168   
 3 Lolo Jones Asics 12.86       -1.6    0.197   
 4 Virginia Crawford Nike 12.90       -1.6    0.148   
 5 Christina Manning Ohio State 12.92       -1.6    0.175   
 6 Brianna Rollins Clemson 12.94       -1.6    0.254   
 7 Michelle Perry Nike 12.97       -1.6    0.148   
 8 Nia Ali Nike 13.02       -1.6    0.208 

Top 3 Press Conference

Virginia Powell On Cut Throat Nature of Track and Field





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