Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Lolo Jones hopes to return for 2016 Olympics
LONDON -- Lolo Jones isn't going away. And she's not going to change a thing.
The day after another disappointment at the Olympics, the 30-year-old Jones told The Associated Press she has no plans to retire and would like to still be hurdling at the Rio Games in 2016.
"Last night, Gail Devers called me and said she was ... 37 when she got her last medal," Jones said of the two-time Olympic 100-meter champion.
Jones is backed by big-name sponsors and has appeared on magazine covers, including a recent issue of "Time." Her charisma and childhood narrative -- her family once lived in a church basement in Iowa -- only add to a story that has made her one of the most marketable and high-profile athletes on the U.S. Olympic team.
But she hasn't won much when the stakes are the highest.
She finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles Tuesday, 0.10 seconds behind bronze medalist Kellie Wells. At Beijing four years ago, Jones came in as the favorite and was leading the final when she hit the ninth of 10 hurdles and wound up seventh.
She has no Olympic or world outdoor championship medals, and has been criticized in some places for occupying a prominent spot in her sport's limited spotlight despite the less-than-perfect results. But she makes no apologies.
"The Olympics are only once every four years so you have to take advantage of all your opportunities, both to be an inspiration to people and help support your sponsors who help you," she said. "I don't regret doing any stories or being in magazines. For me, it was a chance to do things like get tips on eating healthy and working out to people.
"It was hard work and if it made an impact on anyone in a positive way then I wouldn't change it."
Though her Olympics didn't include what she had hoped -- a medal ceremony -- she plans to stick around through the end.
Her lasting memory of the London Games?
"The fact that I am going to be able to watch another competition besides track and see the closing ceremonies," she said. "Basically being able to really enjoy the Olympic experience, which I didn't do in Beijing."