Lolo Jones has long been one of the rare Olympic athletes whose public profile has grown past the day of their competition. As a member of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic track and field team, Jones failed to medal in hurdles but maintained a high public profile, occasionally to the frustration of her teammates or Olympic media.
Now, she's close to making her third Olympic team, this time as a member of the U.S. bobsled team. Following in the footsteps of two-sport athletes such as Herschel Walker, Edwin Moses and Willie Gault, she's attempting to make the transition, and she's down to the wire.
There are five women, including Jones, competing for three spots as pushers on the bobsled team. Publicly, coaches say there is little difference between the five, meaning two will stay home disappointed. But it's impossible to overlook the fact that Jones would bring the bobsled team plenty of publicity, followed most likely by sponsor dollars.
There are no established benchmarks for the five women to snag one of the three spots; it's all based on coaches' discretion. Accordingly, a Jones decision either way is likely to draw heat.
Jones has taken plenty of criticism for her media presence, and accordingly dismisses criticism that this is simply a stunt. "I'm so tired of hearing people say this is about the limelight," Jones said to The Associated Press. "So you're tired of hearing somebody who is literally pursuing their dream and they've had knocks, they've been knocked down, they've been publicly humiliated and yet they still are fighting so hard for this silly medal. You're knocking that? You're knocking somebody that will not give up? That, in my eyes, is what I don't understand."
Thing is, Jones is legit. She's won medals in the two bobsled seasons in which she's competed, and she's been part of a championship team. If she makes it to this Olympic team, she'll have earned the privilege.
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- Lolo Jones