FROM THE GRIO — Lolo Jones showed up in Lake Placid three weeks ago, unsure where her first foray into bobsledding could lead.
The answer might be another Olympics — only this time, the winter one.
Jones, a two-time Olympic hurdler, was one of 24 athletes announced Thursday as members of this season’s U.S. bobsled team, something that gives her the chance to vie for a spot on the World Cup circuit this winter and, possibly, represent her country at the 2014 Sochi Games.
“This is a breath of fresh air — cool, very cool, cold air,” Jones said.
It’s also what she said she desperately needed.
It’s been a rocky few months for Jones, who was criticized by even some of her own track teammates at the London Games for the enormous attention she generates — and how that attention isn’t always in line with accomplishment. She was the gold-medal favorite before hitting a hurdle and finishing seventh at Beijing in 2008, then managed only a fourth-place finish in London this summer.
So in Lake Placid, she’s tried to avoid the spotlight, even asking her new bobsled teammates if they’re comfortable having her around.
The answer has been a resounding yes.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to get to know Lolo through the media,” U.S. women’s bobsled coach Todd Hays said. “These three weeks, I’ve gotten to know her as an athlete. And she surprised me every day with how dedicated she is. The one word I keep coming back to is, she’s such a competitor. She cannot accept not being good at something. She gets up earlier than everybody else, goes to bed later, constantly trying to get better.”
Olympic sprint gold medalist Tianna Madison — part of the world-record-setting 4×100-meter relay team in London — also made the team as a push athlete.