Jones finished fourth in the women's 100 meter hurdles on Tuesday, four years after her devastating loss in Beijing. It had less to do with her performance than that of her competitors.
Jones finished with a season-best time of 12.58 seconds on Tuesday, edged from a medal by a mere one tenth of a second. She only lost because gold medal winner Sally Pearson of Australia set an Olympic record (12.35 seconds) while fellow Americans Dawn Harper (12.37) and Kellie Wells (12.48) set personal bests.
People forget that Jones had an outside chance of medaling in 100 meter hurdles, anyway. Bovada had her fourth in the odds leading up to the event on Tuesday. It would have actually been a surprise if she medaled.
Has Jones taken a step back since 2008? Probably, given that her times in 2008 were better.
That doesn't mean Jones didn't have a strong run on Tuesday. She simply got beat by a fantastic women's field. Even the fifth-place finisher, Nevin Yanit of Turkey, set a national record (12.58 seconds, milliseconds behind Jones). Jones may have done well just to place fourth.
Of course, no competitor is ever happy with fourth place. Jones has seen a great deal of heartbreak after two near misses to medal in the last two Olympics. This will haunt her for years.
But at least the 30-year-old can say she was defeated more by a dominant field than herself.
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