We’re still feeling pumped up about the Olympics, and that means we spend a lot of time staring at athletes’ bodies in motion. Yes, there are many women (and men) who deserve to have their images carved in marble and placed in the pantheon of heroic hotties, but we’d like to spend a little time focusing on one babe in particular: U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones.
We guess that makes this a Track and Field Guide! Get it?
Lori Jones was born on August 5, 1982 in Des Moines, Iowa. Since her mother is also named Lori, people started calling her “Baby Lo” to differentiate between the Jones women, and her name was eventually “toughened up” by the shift to Lolo. Lolo and her five siblings had it tough growing up, and Lori (the mother) had to hold down two jobs in order to support them all. When the family planned to move to another city in Iowa, Lolo stayed behind in order to pursue her passion for track; her mentor and coach arranged for her to be placed in a foster home, and her youth was enriched by the help of many kind hearts from around Des Moines. Teachers at her high school helped her pick the best classes to appeal to colleges, her orthodontist gave her a discount on braces, and a local lawyer helped her with the paperwork she needed to get health insurance. Lolo already showed great skill and speed on the track, and–just because she’s awesome–she proved herself to be one heck of a cellist as well.
Though she originally planned to apply to Iowa State University, Lolo felt drawn to Louisiana State University, where legendary hurdler Kim Carson once competed on the track team. Although her college career seems like one massive track victory (in hurdling and relay running) after the next, Lolo struggled to stay competitive while supporting herself with a series of part time jobs, and when she failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, her drive was all but dashed. She nearly retired from track!
But she didn’t. Lolo kept working her mighty buns off, traveling all over the country and the world, taking national titles, placing well internationally, slowly making a name for herself, and finally qualifying to compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She was favored to win the 100 meter hurdles, and during the race, it looked like she would, but her foot clipped the second-to-last hurdle and she dropped back to seventh place. Jones mentioned in a documentary that this error was attributed to a tethered spinal cord that nullified sensations in her feet but gave her tremendous back pain–at one point, she recalls, the pain was so constant that it ruined her “hot date” watching “TransFormers” with some guy.
Speaking of Lolo and “hot dates” and “some guy,” we figure now is a good time to mention the fact that Lolo is a virgin. If you follow athletes (or at least athlete gossip), you probably already know this by now, for the internet has been all a-buzz about it since Jones first discussed it on HBO’s “Real Sports” earlier this year. She’s a devout Evangelical Christian, she’s saving herself for marriage, and she often talks about how her busy schedule and complete unwillingness to put out makes it difficult to find anyone to date. She’s even said it’s been much harder to maintain her virginity than it is to train for the Olympics.
The media went crazy with this news, and TMZ produced a whole TV segment about how Jones was probably dishonest about her sex life. People even started criticizing her directly on Twitter, to which Jones replied, “I’ve seen Celebs get teased less for releasing a sex tapes #ironic.” Others asked her how she can hold up virginity and purity even though she shows skin in various photoshoots, and she smartly tweeted, “Go to a museum & look at naked pictures/statues of ppl & its considered art but what I did is not? u see no parts exposed.” Some even suggested she should date Tim Tebow; her response: “Ask Tebow if he wants a glass of milk. If he says yes, ask him if he prefers chocolate. if he says no, then no more Tebow date suggestions.” Lolo’s ethnic background is comprised of Native American, African, French and Norwegian, by the way.
Anyway, as much as we’d like to spend another five paragraphs talking about how Lolo Jones is the American Atalanta–you know, the mythical woman who challenged her suitors to a race–we’re less interested in Lolo’s virginity than we are in her pursuit for the gold. She placed third in the qualifying race for the Olympics, she’s only had a year of recovery and training since her spine surgery, and she’s said that her lack of confidence is a big obstacle for her performance; with all that weighing on her, does Lolo stand a chance at winning big in London?
Obviously, we’re going to say yes, because we love her. Lolo Jones has a big heart, big dreams, and–we hope she doesn’t mind us saying this–an absolutely killer body.