Lori ¨Lolo¨ Jones

By Maurice Adika

Growing up in Des Monies, Iowa

She was born August 5, 1982 in Des Monies, Iowa. She went to eight schools in eight years while her mother Lori had two jobs to support the family of six, her dad was in the Air Force and then the state prison. When she was in third grade they moved into the basement of Des Moines salvation army basement. She would wake up really early so that the kids would not know that she lived in the basement.

Her family wanted to move to Forest City, Iowa but Lolo wasn´t going anywhere, she wanted to stay where she could run track and pursue her dreams. So she parted ways with her family and her mentor Coach Phil Ferguson arranged for her to live with four families whike she was enrolled at Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Her last two years she lived with a family of medical consultants Marilyn K. Hauk and her then husband former Des Monies register assistant manager Randy Essex. Knowing that she showed tremendous promise and already having a relationship with her they asked Coach Ferguson if they could help. They became a community that would help her, which, which included teachers at Roosevelt High School who made sure that she put together the right classes to be ready for college, an orthodontist who reduced the cost of her braces and an attorney who handled paperwork pro bono to assure she was covered by health insurance. Jean and Kim Walker and later Janis Caldwell also welcomed her into their homes. Jones went on to receive college degrees in economics and Spanish

Collegiate

Jones originally intended to enroll at Iowa State University through its Upward Bound/Science Bound program. Instead, she followed the lead of elite hurdler Kim Carson, who was her role model and Caldwell's goddaughter. Carson was an All-American and national champion at Louisiana State University . Like Carson, Jones competed on LSU´s track team.

In 2002, she was runner-up in both 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2003, Jones won the 60-meter Hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She was later part of the winning 4x100-meter team at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In the 2004 indoor campaign, she finished second at the NCAA Championships in both the 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash. In her 2004 outdoor season, she won the 100-meter hurdles title at the NCAA Mideast Region Championships, the SEC Championships, and the Penn Relays. At the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships, she won another national title as a member of the winning 4x100-meter team. Her career at LSU saw her finish as an 11-time All-American and a 6-time SEC champion, and she is ranked among the top-three women for all-time in both the 60-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles.

After failing to qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Jones found herself contemplating her future. When Jones told Shaver she wanted to retire from track, he replied, "I'll see you at practice tomorrow."Despite any second thoughts, Jones' heart led her back to running. Jones' financial situation also was still a concern, forcing her to choose between focusing on track and not earning a steady paycheck, or using her economics degree to get a regular job. To save money, Jones would leave the air conditioner off, which meant suffering through the hot Louisiana summer days. She also held several different part-time jobs after college, including working at Home Depot, waiting tables, and a personal trainer at a gym

Pro

After a disappointing finish at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Outdoor Trials, Jones finished second in her first professional meet at Stuttgart. She had a stellar 2006 campaign, which saw her win at Heusden-Zolder in July, running a personal best time of 12.56. At the 2006 World Athletics Final, she finished sixth in the 100 m hurdles and fifth in the 100 m. She also did well on the European circuit, winning a meet in Ostrava. She finished the 2006 season ranked fourth in the U.S. and seventh in the world by Track & Field News.

Jones won her first national championship in 2007, winning the 60m hurdles at the USA Indoor Championships with a time of 7.88 seconds. In the European winter circuit, Jones won two meets and finished second in two others in the 60m hurdles. In April, she won the 100 m hurdles at the Drake Relays. At the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Jones finished third in the 100 m hurdles, thereby earning a spot on the U.S. Team at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, where she finished 6th. On the summer track circuit, Jones won meets at Rethimno and Heusden along with second-place finishes at Doha, Sheffield, and Monaco.

Jones started the 2008 season with hopes of making the 2008 Summer Olympics. She began the indoor campaign with second-place finishes in Glasgow, Gothenburg, and Stuttgart in the 60 m hurdles. She then picked up a win in Düsseldorf, setting a meet-record in the process. In Karlsruhe, Jones ran a personal best time of 7.77 seconds and finished second to Susanna Kallur, who broke the world record with a time of 7.68 seconds. Jones' time was the second-fastest ever by an American. She was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week on February 12 for her performance in Karlsruhe. At the 2008 USA Indoor Championships, Jones won her second straight national championship with a time of 7.88 seconds and also won the Visa Championship Series title for the 2008 indoor season. At the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain, Jones won the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.80 for her first world championship.

Jones opened the 2008 outdoor season with a first-place finish at the LSU Alumni Gold meet in Baton Rouge, setting a stadium record in the process.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Jones was favored to win the 100 meter hurdles. In the final, she was pulling away from the pack when she clipped the 9th hurdle (of 10) and stumbled, breaking stride to drop her back to a 7th-place finish. Teammate Dawn Harper surged through to win gold. Jones was seen pounding the ground close to tears, trying to comprehend what had happened. "You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race. It's just a shame that it happened on the biggest race of my life."Jones was later seen crying to herself in a hallway, mouthing,"why, why, why?"

According to SEC-sponsored, ESPN Films' documentary, "Lolo" about Jones' life (and her personal telling of the story during it), the "clipping" of the ninth hurdle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was attributed to a spinal problem. The doctor who treated her said that the problem was so bad that he would examine her feet and ask which toe of which foot he was touching and she told him that she couldn't feel anything. The doctor said that the problem was that, since she couldn't feel her feet, her brain wasn't able to process where they were, leading to the "clipping" in the medal race in Beijing. Also according to the documentary, the doctor operated on Jones to repair the problem and the operation was a success.

Jones began the 2009 indoor season in Europe, scoring victories in the 60m hurdles with world-leading times of 7.82 seconds in Karlsruhe and Birmingham. She returned to the States and won the national indoor title in the 60m hurdles. A hamstring injury at her hometown meet, the Drake Relays, caused her to miss a month's worth of training but she returned in time for the outdoor national championships.She did not repeat her indoor success, however, as her arms collided with Michelle Perry in the semi-finals and fell, missing out on the opportunity to compete at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.Vowing to salvage her season, she returned to Europe to compete on the major World Athletics Tour meets, but she only finished seventh and eighth in Oslo and Lausanne.She returned to form in Rethymno, beating Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Damu Cherry with a world-leading time of 12.47 seconds]

She faced strong competition on the European circuit: Jones took third at the London Grand Prix behind Sally McLellan and Perdita Felicien, and a run of 12.61 seconds was only enough for third again at Herculis] She ran her second fastest time of the season (12.51) at the DN Galan meeting, but she was beaten to the line by Lopes-Schliep.She re-injured her hamstring at Weltklasse Zürich, ruling her out for the rest of the season. Having missed the major championships and suffered injuries, the 2009 season was largely disappointing for Jones, although she took solace from having run the second fastest time that season.

Jones defended her 60m hurdles Indoor World Title in Doha after finishing with a time of 7.72, a new American record. Due to there being no major championships for Americans, Jones then traveled to Europe and competed in mainly Diamond League events. After wins in Doha, Oslo, New York, Gateshead, and Monaco, going into the last Diamond League race, Jones was tied at the top of the standings with Canadian Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. Lopes-Schliep won the final race which left Jones second in the overall standings.

Jones made her 2011 race debut at Aviva International Match, Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Jones finished the race in fourth with a time of 8.27 after hitting the third hurdle. A close third-place finish followed in Stuggart, with Jones finishing in 7.94 behind Carolin Nytra (7.92) and Christina Vukicevic (7.93). Injury and illness forced Jones to miss the rest of the indoor season.

On June 23, 2012, Jones placed third in the 100m hurdles at the U.S. Olympics trials, qualifying her for a spot on the 2012 Summer Olympics team.

At the London Olympics on August 6, Jones won her heat in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 12.68s. On August 7, she placed third in the semifinals of the 100 meter hurdles, gaining progression to the finals. In the finals later that day Jones finished fourth with a time of 12.58s.

In May 2013, Jones earned her first win of the 2013 season at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Tokyo. She clocked 12.92 seconds in the race – well behind her Drake time of 12.79 and Queen Harrison’s 2013 world leading time of 12.71 due to the headwind – to hold off Wells, who was still fast enough to finish with silver in 13.07 seconds.

At the 2015 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Jones advanced to the finals. She qualified for the NACAC Championships in Costa Rica. Jones won the NACAC Championships Women 100 M Hurdles in 12.63 {4.1 wind}


Personal lifre

Lolo was named Lori at birth, after her mother, but said she started going by "Lolo" in order to differentiate the two on the telephone. Her mother claims that "Lolo" is what she called her daughter from birth.

A 2005 graduate of Louisiana State University, Jones currently resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is sponsored by Asics and Red Bull. She is of Native American, African,French, and Norwegian descent. She is a devout Christian, and often prays before competitions, and talks about her faith on Twitter.

In a 2012 segment on HBO's Real Sports, Jones revealed that she is a virgin, dates online, and struggles to maintain her virginity. She said:

"If there's virgins out there, I'm going to let them know, it's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life—harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college, has been to stay a virgin before marriage."

While visiting Des Moines for the Drake Relays, she made a surprise visit to her alma mater, Roosevelt High School, to deliver a pair of new Asics running shoes for each member of the school's track team. She also delivered a US$3,000 check to buy indoor practice hurdles and for improvements to repair the school's track surface.

In July 2008, while back in Des Moines for a send-off ceremony before the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jones donated the US$4,000 prize from winning the 100-meter hurdles at the Olympic trials to Renee Trout, a single mother from Cedar Rapids, Iowa who was hit by the Iowa flood of 2008. Asics and Oakley each matched Jones' $4,000 prize, bringing the total donation to $12,000. After the sendoff ceremony, Jones flew with Trout to Cedar Rapids aboard a private jet provided by the Iowa Farm Bureau to tour the neighborhoods affected by the flood, including Trout's.