Sports: Hurdles, Bobsled
Highlights: 11-time All-American hurdler, 1st in the 60m hurdles at the 2008 World Indoor Championships; 2nd in the 100m hurdles at the 2008 World Athletics Final; 4th in the 100m hurdles at the 2012 Olympics; gold medal in bobsled mixed team event at the 2013 World Championships
Quote: “There’s lessons to be learned when you win and there’s lessons to be learned when you lose.”
Fact: In 2008, she donated her Olympic Trials prize money to Iowa flood victims.
AT50 Point Total: 33
There's something about Lolo Jones's casual, I-don't-give-a-damn public persona that belies the adversity she's overcome in her personal life, as well as her gnawing failure to seal her track legacy on sport's grandest stage, the Olympics. See, Jones grew up poor in Des Moines, Iowa. Her family lived in the basement of a Salvation Army for a time, and she shoplifted frozen dinners to help feed her siblings. Those experiences apparently drove her to succeed, and when her family announced plans to move to a different town—one without a track—Lolo stayed behind to train, rotating between quasi-foster families while she attended high school.
The stage was set, and Jones went on to Louisiana State University, where she was an 11-time All-American track superstar. Since then, however, she's had plenty of breakthrough performances on indoor tracks, but has never been able to carry that success over to outdoor track and field, where she'd need it for Olympic glory. A three-time indoor national champion (2008-2010) and two-time indoor world champion (2008, 2010) in the 60m hurdles, she was ranked first in the world in the 100m hurdles going into the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She was leading the final and even pulling away from the pack, until she clipped the ninth of 10 hurdles and broke her stride, putting her in a dismal seventh. Hyped again before the 2012 London Olympics, she came in fourth.
But, like the tough girl she's always been, Jones dusted herself off and began to master a new, unlikely sport—bobsled. She made the U.S. national team and, in January, won her first bobsledding world championship in the mixed team event at St. Moritz. She may not be out on the track, but Jones is still clearing hurdles.