Somehow, some way, Lolo Jones has been a lightning rod for criticism this summer.
People aren’t targeting the 100-meter hurdler’s performance in the 2012 London Summer Olympics—they can’t; she hasn’t even lost yet. Despite the fact that Jones is an ideal role model, her detractors are attacking her not as an athlete, but a person.
The only reason why they’re attacking Jones is because she’s weak—she choked in Beijing. But when Jones redeems herself in the 100 hurdles final on Tuesday, her critics will be forced to find a new athlete to kick while they're down.
Chris Chase of Yahoo! Sports thinks Jones is a moron.
Jere Longman of the New York Times believes the entirety of her popularity stems from Jones selling herself as a sex symbol.
Where is this garbage coming from? Especially questioning her talent?
Nothing is more ignorant than questioning Jones’ competitive ability. That just screams I’ve been living under a rock for the past half-decade.
There isn’t any doubt about it. Jones was the fastest 100-meter hurdler in the world in 2008. Her loss in a single race—in which she was leading by a significant margin—definitely doesn’t change that fact.
But despite Jones’ impressive comeback story, her critics obviously aren’t impressed.
To their dismay, it wouldn’t be a miracle if she won gold. According to Bovada, Jones is up against 12-to-1 odds to finish first in the 100 hurdles final. Far steeper odds have been overcome a countless number of times.
With 10 hurdles in between runners and the finish line, anything can happen.
Will Jones medal in the 100m hurdles?
On Monday, in Round 1 of the event, Jones recorded the second fastest time only behind the race’s favorite, Australia’s Sally Pearson. Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hylton failed to qualify, which leaves Jones’ own teammates—Kellie Wells and Dawn Harper—as the greatest threats to her finding the podium.
And on that note, Jones' time in the race, 12.68 seconds, was her seasonal best, which would've been fast enough to win the U.S. Trials.
At 30 years old, Jones knows this is her last shot at redemption. Expect her to take full advantage of it and silence her critics for good.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.