Former U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones called her selection to the U.S. bobsled team this weekend “a fresh start” during an interview with NBC’s Today show on Tuesday morning.
“I know you can’t change the past, but knowing I hit a hurdle, got fourth place, I wouldn’t change it for the fact that I know that it led me here,” Jones said. “It led me to meet a great group of female athletes, and we are truly united and bonded and ready to go to Sochi and dominate.”
Jones now joins a group of eight other Americans who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Games, including fellow bobsledder and former sprinter Lauryn Williams. Jones ran the 100-meter hurdles in the two previous summer games, both times failing to come away with a medal. It was actually Jones’ failure in the 2008 Games, when she memorably stumbled over the ninth of 10 hurdles, falling out of the lead to finish seventh, that catapulted her to stardom.
Since then, much discussion of the discussion about Jones has centered on whether the attention she receives is commensurate with her achievement (or lack thereof). She was criticized in June after posting a Vine video complaining about her bobsled stipend check; Jones later claimed it was a joke and apologized.
Jones, 31, was one of the three women selected Sunday from a pool of six for the “push” spots on the bobsledding team. She has previously part of a team that won a silver medal in a World Cup event last year. To transition to her new sport, Jones has added 30 pounds of muscle for the power needed to work as a push athlete.
“I think any time you represent Team USA, it’s the biggest honor that I’ll have in my life,” she said. “You feel the weight and the pressure of a country behind you, and you know it’s not only your hopes and dreams. You’re fighting for other people back home, and so I carry that with a lot of responsibility and I hope to make everybody proud.”