Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones sheds weight, returns to track at Drake Relays

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Lolo Jones said she’s lost more than 20 pounds in transitioning from bobsled back to track and field on the eve of her first race of the season at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The original was to lose 30 plus pounds,” Jones said. “I lost 10 right away. Like within a few weeks, like 10 pounds melted off really quickly. The next 10 were a little bit harder, but just with a stricter diet I was able to get that. The last five to seven have really been tough.”

Jones, 31, is scheduled to compete in a shuttle hurdle relay Friday night at 8, two months after placing 11th in bobsled at the Sochi Olympics.

Jones said she’s at 142 pounds and would like to get to 135 by the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., beginning June 25. Her listed weight on her Sochi 2014 bio page was 161 pounds.

“I’ve been non-stop for the last two years,” she said. “Of all the athletes, track and bobsled, I have not taken really a week off. I really needed to kind of enjoy a chocolate cake every now and then and not be stressed that my career would be over.”

Jones re-enters a crowded U.S. field in the 100m hurdles this season, including reigning world outdoor champion Brianna Rollins, 22, and world indoor champion Nia Ali, 25.

Jones said her first workouts for track after Sochi made it feel like she “hadn’t hurdled in years,” according to the Des Moines Register.

“The first time I went over hurdles, my form was pretty much equivalent to how I ran in high school,” she said, according to the newspaper. “I felt awkward, and I was carrying extra weight, so when I was coming off the hurdles the first day my ankles were killing me just because there was too much weight I was carrying and I was smashing my legs into the track. I was very off balance, so getting that back into coordination was pretty tough.”

Jones also made a bit of news with this tweet Thursday, referencing New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda.

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What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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