In the months leading up to the Olympics, however, I have heard more and more about her athletic talents and how she was one of the top contenders for a medal in the women's 100-meter hurdles event. In Beijing in 2008, she crashed on the ninth hurdle and finished in seventh, so this year she was motivated even more to win a medal.
It was not to be, as she finished fourth, just 23 hundredths of a second behind first place and 10 hundredths behind third. Jones was visibly disappointed after the race (via The Daily News):
“Obviously, I’m crushed,” Jones said. She added later, “I guess all the people talking about me can have their night and laugh.”
Is this end of the legend of Lolo Jones?
I don't think so.
Having had two Olympics where she has fallen short of expectations, some of them her own, you can bet Jones will be working her hardest in the lead-up to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
I don't think her star will fade in the next four years, I just think it's going to change. She has to learn a lesson about over-hyping herself. All the photo shoots, rumors about Tebow and everything else she did took the focus off her athletic talents and onto her off-track life.
Jones has to look at herself and realize that she doesn't need to put all the focus on herself. The American Olympic Committee does a good job of that on its own. It will give her the hype.
Hopefully, if she makes the Olympics in 2016, she won't be hyped that much and some time out of the spotlight would do her some good.
The story of Jones in 2016 shouldn't be, "Lolo Jones is a lock for a medal." That hasn't worked in two Olympic Games. The story needs to be a come-from-behind story.
I hate to make the movie reference, but she needs to have the Rocky story. She's been knocked down twice and, in the years leading up to 2016, she works her way back up and by the time 2016 rolls around, she'll be ready to finally win a medal.
The star of Lolo Jones won't fade totally, but it would be better for her career to hide in the background for a year or so, and then come back, better than she has been in 2008 and this year, ready to take the world by storm again.
Except next time, her star won't be made by herself. It will be made by the fans.