Sports article on Sideshow Lolo in 100 hurdles Olympic fight regarding Jones, World, Olympic, Wells, Champion, London, , Front, Hardest, Hurdles, Training, Final, Americans, Women, Hayes
By talking about her virginity and a new high-tech training program, Lolo Jones is a clear publicity front-runner among the women's 100-meter hurdlers at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials.
But Jones, who led the 2008 Beijing Olympics final before falling over the penultimate hurdle and finishing seventh, will be in likely the hardest fight of any discipline simply to earn a US team berth at the London Olympics.
"Unfinished business! i am ready," Jones said in a Twitter posting.
Ten of the 15 fastest 100 hurdlers in the world this year are Americans, including six of the top nine wind-legal leaders, and Jones ranks only 14th with a 12.75-second fifth-place effort at Oslo on June 7.
Only the top three in Saturday's final will earn berths at the London Games.
"What proves our validity in the sport is what we do on the track," said US two-time 100 hurdles champion Ginnie Crawford, the wife of US sprinter Shawn Crawford who ranks eighth on the 2012 world performers list at 12.66.
"This team is one of the hardest to make. This event is always competitive. You can be running the best in the world but if you don't execute you aren't going to win. One little mistake can cost you a medal or a place on the team."
Australian Sally Pearson ran the 2012 world best of 12.49 to win at Oslo with Jamaica's Bridgitte Foster-Hylton second this year at 12.51 followed by Americans Kellie Wells at 12.55 and Kristi Castlin at 12.56 with 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper next among US hurdles on 12.65 followed by Crawford.
The Americans will almost certainly have the fastest women in the world who do not qualify for London in the event.
"It's going to be who shows up in the final. There could be a woman who runs really well and doesn't make it," Wells said. "I try to focus on myself and those 10 hurdles. I just try and execute. We all have to step up on the day."
Jones, who spoke of racing a horse before Beijing, told HBO in May that she will stay a virgin until she gets married, calling it "the hardest thing I've done in my life, harder than training for the Olympics."
On Wednesday, Jones revealed "Project X" in a Sports Illustrated article and YouTube video -- cameras, sensors and computer analyzing her every move during practice sessions to allow 3D image studying on how to improve her times.
"We can find the mistakes before we go to a big competition," Jones said in the video.
Joanna Hayes, the 35-year-old Olympic champion from 2004 who gave birth to baby Zoe 18 months ago, began training last November in a comeback bid. Her season best is only 12.87 but she warns not to dismiss her effort.
"I've been here before and done it and I know what it takes to get it done," Hayes said. "If you are in the final you have a shot no matter who the favorite is. It only matters where you place. It's not about your time.
"There's no front runner. Everyone is just kind of there. I honestly think it's going to be close."
Hayes and Wells laugh at the notion that Jones has a target on her back due to her publicity and cover-girl status.
"I don't care who is in what lane. I want them all to go down, not just beat Lolo," Wells said, saying the field has outgrown the idea of "Lolo is on the front cover so I really want to beat her."
Hayes said she enjoys Lolo covers.
"I just throw darts at it every day. I use my lead arm to throw darts right at her face," Hayes said, laughing at the idea.
"If you are worried about somebody else, you are in trouble because there are 10 hurdles in front of you and if you hit them they will hit back.
"She's getting more attention than the Olympic champion. What about the love for everybody else? But she has got a great story... Fans see she's articulate. She's a virgin. Hey, I'm going for Lolo.
"Great for her. I can't worry about whether Lolo makes the team or not. I've got to make the team.
"If I were her, I would be doing most of the same things. She's got 1,200 sponsors. I've got no money. But I have Zoe. I'm setting an example. What I've shown women is that you can sit still and get up again."
Wells, the reigning US champion who tore a hamstring at the 2008 trials, respects Hayes.
"Never count out a champion," Wells said. "She's an Olympic gold medalist. They have the ability to show up."