Remember all that hullabaloo about how Olympian Lolo Jones was only getting attention because she was pretty, and not because she was a good athlete? We all knew it was bogus–she came in fourth at the London games, and will definitely compete again in 2016. But now, the hurdler has added another reason to respect her skills: She’s joined the U.S. women’s bobsled team.
Several of other, less well-known (but still seriously talented) runners and field athletes have been recruited for the new team, which will hit the World Cup circuit before it heads to Sochi. But it’s Lolo Jones who is getting the attention–probably because a.) she’s been getting the attention all along, and b.) so many critics wrote her off as just an attractive woman who also happened to hurdle.
Jones, who told the AP that she decided to try bobsledding to “get away from track for a bit,” found out that she was actually pretty great at it. She and gold medal-winning sprinter Tianna Madison, as well as four other track athletes, have been selected by coach Todd Hays to build a bang-up new team of seasoned competitors for the 2014 winter games in Sochi.
Track athletes make great bobsled teammates, because, aside from being able to maintain their primary sport’s training while doing other activities, they also usually offer a lot of speed, a muscular frame, and powerful agility that are advantageous for getting into a sled quickly and maneuvering it down the path. Bobsled is also more of a team sport than track and field, which, for Jones, who was snubbed by teammates more than once, sounds like it might be a nice change of pace.
I think it’s great that Lolo Jones is getting the opportunity not only to try out a new sport in the offseason, but to get a chance to prove that she’s a dynamic, hard-working talent who also happens to have a little star power. Does she play the media game a little bit to her advantage? Sure. Is that practically required of female athletes? You betcha. Does that make her a less skilled athlete? Apparently not.
Image: PNP/ WENN.com