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Track star Lolo Jones has won both USA and World championships in hurdle events, and competed at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
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Born in Iowa in 1982, Lolo Jones excelled at her sport at Des Moines' Theodore Roosevelt High School, earning the title of Gatorade Midwest Athlete of the Year. At Louisiana State University, Jones continued to thrive, winning several NCAA championships in indoor and outdoor hurdles. She went on to win USA and World championships (indoor track and field) in 2008, also competing in the 100-meter hurdles at the Olympic Games that year,
where she failed to take home a medal. Jones had surgery on her spinal cord in 2011 and competed at the Olympic Games in 2012, where she just missed the bronze medal, placing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.
One of the most popular figures in American track and field today, Lolo Jones has overcome many challenges to excel at her sport. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 5, 1982, Jones grew up poor as one of five children being raised by a single mother. She and her family moved a lot, and even lived in a church's basement for a time. All of these changes of address meant that Jones went to a different school each year during her youth, until high school.
At Theodore Roosevelt High School, Jones pursued her love of track. She parted ways with her mother, and stayed with four different families throughout her high school years in order to remain at Theodore Roosevelt. Jones showed great promise as a hurdler, winning the Gatorade Iowa Track and Field Athlete of the Year award. She also played cello in the school's orchestra.
At Louisiana State University, Jones quickly proved to be one of the best hurdlers at the college level. She won the 100-meter hurdles at the 2002 NCAA Track & Field Championship, and was part of the runner-up team for the 100-meter relay event. Building on her success, Jones won the 60-meter indoor hurdles event at the NCAA Championships in both 2003 and 2004.
In 2005, Jones completed her studies and devoted herself entirely to her track career. Her dedication soon paid off. She came in first at the Torino Memorial event that year, and won at both the Heusden and Ostrava track events the following year. In 2008, Jones seemed to be at the top of her game. She won the USA Outdoor Championship, as well as the USA and World Indoor championships. Going into the Beijing Olympic Games that year, Jones was considered to be an odds-on favorite for the gold. But she stumbled on the second-to-last hurdle in the 100-meter hurdle event, and ended up finishing 17th.
Plagued by health problems for some time, Jones was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord. She had surgery to correct the problem in November 2011 and just one year later, qualified to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics, giving her the chance to go for the gold that escaped her in 2008.
Sadly, in the 100-meter hurdles final at the 2012 Games, Jones finished fourth, 0.10 seconds behind medalist Kellie Wells. "I was crushed afterwards," Jones said. "I know I had the best race of my season—not the best race of my life," Jones said during an appearance on the Today show shortly after the race.
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