Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lolo Jones Hits Hurdle, Finishes Seventh

Olympics Day 11 - Athletics

Lolo Jones was two hurdles away from Olympic gold.

-Beijing-Midway through the race Jones opened up daylight between she and the rest of the competitors. The question seemed to be who would take silver and bronze.

Then disaster hit.

Then Jones clipped the hurdle with her lead foot and instantly went from first to seventh place--a change your life kind of moment. In the semi-finals, Jones established her role as the elite of the field - rolling out at 12.43 - the third fastest time in Olympic history.

Dawn Harper of the U.S. won the gold medal in 12.54 seconds, Australia's Sally McLellan landed silver (12.64) and Canada's Priscilla Lopes-Schliep scooped up bronze (also 12.64).

It seemed to be destiny, but it was not to be. Owning the fastest time in the world and winning in races by wide margins. The story of Jones had the making of a American come back story. She cleared

Daughter of a single mother with three brothers and a sister, at one point lived in the basement of a church. Her father was in and out of jail during her youth. The kid who bounced from family to family. Jones worked minimum jobs to stay in the sport. The story was close to coming full circle for the 25-year-old LSU graduate.

"You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race," said Jones. "But it's kind of like a car. When you race in a car and you're going max velocity and you hit a curve, you either maintain control or you crash and burn and today I crashed and burned."

"When I crossed the line, it was very hard to pick myself back up," she said. "Today's hard." Tomorrow's going to be harder."
It was a heartbreaking race and a reminder of how difficult the sport can be. Lolo is a champion with or without a medal and after this latest disappointment she will keep moving on.

By Jay Hicks.

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